Symptom Clusters and Their Impacts on Hospital Readmission in Patients With Heart Failure: A Cross-Sectional Study

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Background and Purpose:Readmissions after hospitalization due to multiple symptoms in heart failure (HF) are common and costly. Patients have difficulty differentiating HF symptoms from comorbid illness or aging. Therefore, early identification of symptom clusters could improve symptom recognition and reduce hospital readmission. However, little is known about the relationship between symptom clusters and readmission in HF patients. This study aimed to identify symptom clusters among Korean patients with HF and the relationship between symptom clusters and hospital readmission.Methods:This cross-sectional study included 306 HF outpatients within 12 months after discharge. Exploratory factor analysis was used to identify the symptom clusters. Multiple logistic regression analysis was used to examine the effect of symptom clusters on readmission, after adjusting for sociodemographic and clinical characteristics.Results:Three symptom clusters were identified in HF patients: the “respiratory distress” cluster, “bodily pain and energy insufficiency” cluster, and “circulatory and gastrointestinal distress” cluster. Patients with class III or IV of HF functional class experienced three symptom clusters at a higher level. This study showed that the “bodily pain and energy insufficiency” cluster was the strongest predictor of hospital readmission in HF patients (adjusted odds ratio = 6.59, 95% confidence interval (CI) [1.29, 32.79]).Implications for Practice:A higher level of “bodily pain and energy insufficiency” cluster was associated with hospital readmission in Korean HF patients. Health-care providers should be encouraged to consider patients' cultural backgrounds to recognize differences in symptom clusters. Further studies are needed to evaluate symptom clusters across international cohorts and their impacts on patients' outcomes.

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