Phone Intervention Helps Heart Failure Patients Long Term

Follow-up three years later finds mortality and hospitalizations lower in those who got calls

THURSDAY, July 22 (HealthDay News) -- A telephone intervention aimed at improving education and compliance in heart failure patients can lead to fewer heart failure hospitalizations and a lower death rate than no intervention up to three years after the program ends, according to a study in the July 27 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Daniel Ferrante, M.D., of the Grupo de Estudio en Investigación Clínica en Argentina Foundation in Buenos Aires, and colleagues studied 1,518 heart failure patients from the Randomized Trial of Phone Intervention in Chronic Heart Failure (DIAL) study who had been randomized to receive a telephone intervention to optimize symptom monitoring, exercise, diet, weight control, and compliance with therapy, or usual care only. The new study followed the DIAL subjects for up to three years post-intervention.

The researchers found the rate of heart failure death or hospitalization to be lower in the intervention group than in the usual-care group at one year post-intervention (37.2 versus 42.6 percent; P = 0.013) and three years post-intervention (55.7 versus 57.5 percent; P = 0.05). This benefit was mainly due to a reduction in heart failure admission for the intervention group (28.5 versus 35.1 percent after three years).

"The benefit observed during the intervention period persisted and was sustained one and three years after the intervention ended. This effect may be explained by the impact of the educational intervention on patients' behavior and habits," the authors write.

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