Bereavement Tied to Higher Risk for Death Among Heart Failure Patients
Findings seen regardless of cause of family member's death and peaked in the first week after death
WEDNESDAY, July 6, 2022 (HealthDay News) -- Death of a family member is associated with an increased risk for mortality among patients with heart failure, according to a study published online July 6 in JACC: Heart Failure.
Hua Chen, from the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, and colleagues assessed whether the death of a close family member is associated with mortality in heart failure patients. The analysis included 490,527 Swedish patients with a primary diagnosis of heart failure from 1987 to 2018.
The researchers found that loss of a family member was associated with an increased risk for dying (adjusted relative risk, 1.29). Regardless of whether a family member's death was from cardiovascular death, natural death, or unnatural death, the association persisted. Risk was higher for two losses versus one loss and was highest in the first week after the loss. The link between bereavement and increased mortality risk was seen for the death of a child, spouse/partner, grandchild, and sibling but not for a parent's death.
"Death of a family member was associated with an increased risk of mortality among patients with heart failure," the authors write. "Further studies are needed to investigate whether less severe sources of stress can also contribute to poor prognosis in heart failure and to explore the mechanisms underlying this association."