March 03, 2016
1 min read

Social isolation may worsen functional, mental health in patients with HF

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In patients with HF, the greater the social isolation, the worse the functional and medical health, regardless of comorbidities, according to findings presented at the American Heart Association’s EPI/Lifestyle Scientific Sessions.

According to the study background, prior research indicates that social isolation has detrimental effects on psychosocial and physical health, especially in older adults, but the relationship had not been studied extensively in patients with HF.

Veronique L. Roger, MD, professor of epidemiology at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and colleagues administered surveys to 645 patients with HF (mean age, 73 years; 53% men; mean Charlson comorbidity index, 2.2). All patients completed the PROMIS Social Isolation Short Form to assess social isolation and the PROMIS 29 Health Profile to assess functional status and mental health.

Veronique L. Roger

They analyzed the relationship between social isolation and functional status/mental health after adjusting for age, sex and Charlson comorbidity index.

Patients were stratified by low (PROMIS Social Isolation Short Form score of 4-8, n = 475), moderate (score of 9-12, n = 129) and high (score of 13-20, n = 41) social isolation.

After adjustment, the researchers found that mean scores for each section of the PROMIS 29 Health Profile and the mean total score increased with higher social isolation (P for trend < .001 for all), including:

  • physical function: low, 8.6; moderate, 11.2; high, 13.7;
  • anxiety: low, 5.2; moderate, 6.9; high, 8.5;
  • depression: low, 5; moderate, 7.3; high, 9.9; and
  • total score: low, 51; moderate, 67.7; high, 81.9.

“In patients with HF, greater social isolation is associated with worse functional and mental health, independent of comorbidity,” Roger and colleagues wrote in an abstract. “As functional status and mental health impact disease management, addressing social isolation may help with managing HF.” – by Erik Swain


Chamberlain AM, et al. Abstract PO92. Presented at: American Heart Association’s EPI/Lifestyle Scientific Sessions; March 1-4, 2016; Phoenix.

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.