Exploring the Importance of Health Literacy for the Quality of Life in Patients with Heart Failure

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2018 Aug 16;15(8):1761. doi: 10.3390/ijerph15081761.


As with all other chronic noncommunicable diseases, adequate health literacy plays a key role in making the right decisions in the treatment of heart failure. Patients with heart failure and a lower health literacy have a reduced quality of life. A cross-sectional study among 200 patients with heart failure was conducted at a state university hospital in Belgrade, Serbia. The European Health Literacy Questionnaire, HLS-EU-Q47, was used to assess health literacy. Quality of life was measured with the generic SF-36 and the Minnesota Living with Heart Failure Questionnaire. Descriptive and analytical statistical analysis was applied. More than half of the respondents (64%) had limited health literacy. The lowest mean health literacy index (28.01 ± 9.34) was within the disease prevention dimension, where the largest number of respondents showed limited health literacy (70%). Our patients had a poorer quality of life in the physical dimension, and the best scores were identified in the emotional role and social functioning. Health literacy was highly statistically significant and an independent predictor of quality of life (physical, mental, and total quality of life). Improving health literacy can lead to better decisions in the treatment of disease and quality of life in heart failure patients.

Keywords: Minnesota; health literacy; public health, heart failure; quality of life.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Decision Making
  • Female
  • Health Literacy / statistics & numerical data*
  • Heart Failure / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Quality of Life*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires