BACKGROUND: Heart failure (HF) patients experience impaired functional status, diminished quality of life, high utilization of healthcare resources, and poor survival. Yet, the identification of patient-centered factors that influence prognosis is lacking.

METHODS AND RESULTS: We determined the association of 2 measures of self-rated health with healthcare utilization and skilled nursing facility (SNF) admission in a community cohort of 417 HF patients prospectively enrolled between October 2007 and December 2010 from Olmsted County, MN. Patients completed a 12-item Short Form Health Survey (SF-12). Low self-reported physical functioning was defined as a score ≤ 25 on the SF-12 physical component. The first question of the SF-12 was used as a measure of self-rated general health. After 2 years, 1033 hospitalizations, 1407 emergency department (ED) visits, and 19,780 outpatient office visits were observed; 87 patients were admitted to a SNF. After adjustment for confounding factors, an increased risk of hospitalizations (1.52 [1.17 to 1.99]) and ED visits (1.48 [1.04 to 2.11]) was observed for those with low versus moderate-high self-reported physical functioning. Patients with poor and fair self-rated general health also experienced an increased risk of hospitalizations (poor: 1.73 [1.29 to 2.32]; fair: 1.46 [1.14 to 1.87]) and ED visits (poor: 1.73 [1.16 to 2.56]; fair: 1.48 [1.13 to 1.93]) compared with good-excellent self-rated general health. No association between self-reported physical functioning or self-rated general health with outpatient visits and SNF admission was observed.

CONCLUSION: In community HF patients, self-reported measures of physical functioning predict hospitalizations and ED visits, indicating that these patient-reported measures may be useful in risk stratification and management in HF.

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Published in Journal of the American Heart Association, v. 3, no. 3, p. article e000931, p. 1-8.

© 2014 The Authors. Published on behalf of the American Heart Association, Inc., by Wiley Blackwell.

This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution‐NonCommercial License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited and is not used for commercial purposes.

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This work was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health (R01 HL72435) and the National Institute on Aging (R01 AG034676). Dr Roger is an Established Investigator of the American Heart Association. The funding sources played no role in the design, conduct, or reporting of this study.

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