Background: Symptoms and signs of heart failure (HF) are the most common reasons for admission to hospital for acute HF (AHF) and are used routinely throughout admission to assess the severity of disease and response to therapy.
Methods and results: The data were collected in The Sub-Saharan Africa Survey on Heart Failure (THESUS-HF) study, a prospective, multicenter, observational survey of AHF from 9 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. A total of 1006 patients, ≥12 years of age, hospitalized for AHF were recruited. Symptoms and signs of HF and changes in dyspnea and well-being, relative to admission, were assessed at entry and on days 1, 2, and 7 (or on discharge if earlier) and included oxygen saturation, degree of edema and rales, body weight, and level of orthopnea. The patient determined dyspnea and general well-being, whereas the physician determined symptoms and signs of HF, as well as improvements in vital sign measurement, throughout the admission. After multivariable adjustment, baseline rales and changes to day 7 or discharge in general well-being predicted death or HF hospitalization through day 60, and baseline orthopnea, edema, rales, oxygen saturation, and changes to day 7 or on discharge in respiratory rate and general well-being were predictive of death through day 180.
Conclusions: In AHF patients in sub-Saharan Africa, symptoms and signs of HF improve throughout admission, and simple assessments, including edema, rales, oxygen saturation, respiratory rate, and asking the patient about general well-being, are valuable tools in patients' clinical assessment.
Keywords: Africa; Symptoms; acute heart failure; outcome; signs.
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