Talk to the Veterans Crisis Line now
U.S. flag
An official website of the United States government

VA Health Systems Research

Go to the VA ORD website
Go to the QUERI website

HSR&D Citation Abstract

Search | Search by Center | Search by Source | Keywords in Title

Influence of patient age and comorbid burden on clinician attitudes toward heart failure guidelines.

Steinman MA, Sudore RL, Peterson CA, Harlow JB, Fried TR. Influence of patient age and comorbid burden on clinician attitudes toward heart failure guidelines. The American journal of geriatric pharmacotherapy. 2012 Jun 1; 10(3):211-8.

Dimensions for VA is a web-based tool available to VA staff that enables detailed searches of published research and research projects.

If you have VA-Intranet access, click here for more information

VA staff not currently on the VA network can access Dimensions by registering for an account using their VA email address.
   Search Dimensions for VA for this citation
* Don't have VA-internal network access or a VA email address? Try searching the free-to-the-public version of Dimensions


BACKGROUND: Clinical practice guidelines have been criticized for insufficient attention to the unique needs of patients of advanced age and with multiple comorbid conditions. However, little empiric research is available to inform this topic. METHODS: We conducted telephone interviews with staff physicians and nurse practitioners in 4 VA health care systems. Respondents were asked to rate the usefulness of national heart failure guidelines for patients of different ages and levels of comorbid burden on a 5-point scale and to comment on the reasons for their ratings. RESULTS: Of 139 clinicians contacted, 65 (47%) completed the interview. Almost half (49%) were women, and 48 (74%) were general internists or family practitioners. On a 5-point scale assessing the usefulness of clinical practice guidelines for heart failure, the mean (SD) response ranged from 4.4 (0.7) for patients younger than 65 years with few comorbid conditions to 3.5 (1.2) for patients older than 80 years with multiple comorbid conditions (P < 0.001). The difference in perceived usefulness varied more by patient age than by degree of comorbidity (P = 0.02). Four major concepts underlay the perceived usefulness of guidelines across different patient types: (1) harm of treatment and complexity of the patient's clinical condition and pharmacologic needs, (2) expected benefits of treatment, (3) patient preferences and abilities, and (4) confidence in the validity of guideline recommendations. CONCLUSION: Clinicians perceive heart failure guidelines to be substantially less useful in patients of older age and with greater comorbid burden. Concerns about the clinical and pharmacologic complexity of these patients and the expected benefits of drug therapy were commonly invoked as reasons for this skepticism.

Questions about the HSR website? Email the Web Team

Any health information on this website is strictly for informational purposes and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any condition.