AHA Supports Shared Decision Making in Heart Failure

Treatment choices should align with values, goals, and preferences of an informed patient

MONDAY, March 5 (HealthDay News) -- Shared decision making in advanced heart failure has become more challenging and more important, with increased disease duration and available treatment options, according to a scientific statement from the American Heart Association (AHA) published online March 5 in Circulation.

Larry A. Allen, M.D., M.H.S., and colleagues from the AHA discuss the role of shared decision making for patients with advanced heart failure.

The authors describe shared decision making as the premise that clinicians and patients share information and work toward decisions that are aligned with the patients' values, goals, and preferences. As the duration of advanced heart failure and options for treatment have increased, shared decision making has become more challenging and important. Shared decision making should be an ongoing process, which simplifies future decisions. An annual review, which should include discussion of current and potential treatment options for anticipated and unanticipated events, is recommended. Discussions should include major adverse events, including functional limitation and loss of independence. As the end of life is anticipated, a comprehensive end-of-life plan, consistent with patient values, preferences, and goals, should be developed.

"The importance of shared decision making in advanced heart failure cannot be overstated given the complex myriad of treatment options that confront patients, families, and caregivers," the authors write. "Our statement is a 'call to action,' not only to clinicians within our community directly responsible for facilitating shared decision making but also to those on a national level who would reform and restructure the health care medical system to truly support patient-centered care."

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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