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Self-management of heart failure cuts admission risk

Patients with heart failure who self-manage their condition halve their risk of being admitted to hospital, according to a new study.

The systematic review of

data on 857 patients found the risk of admission in those who self-managed was reduced by 41 per cent.

Similarly, risk of being readmitted to hospital for heart failure was 56 per cent lower in patients who self-managed than in those managed by a doctor.

Patients enrolled in self-management schemes also showed better adherence to prescribed medical advice, and more regular weighing and monitoring of symptoms. Patients who communicated with health professionals through e-mail and other electronic messaging soft- ware said they were as satisfied with their management as those undergoing standard care.

Study author Dr Sharon Straus, clinician scientist at Toronto General Hospital in Canada, said the study 'demonstrates self-management in heart failure decreases hospital readmissions, both all-cause and heart-failure related'.

Dr Ian Johnstone, a member of the Lothian Heart Failure Network, said self-management could 'absolutely' work in the UK, as self-managed patients in his practice in East Lothian had experienced 'marked reductions' in hospital admissions.

Dr Johnstone said his patients 'like it because it puts them back in charge'. The study was published online in BMC Cardiovascular Diseases.

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