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Implications of Perceived Dyspnea and Global Well-Being Measured by Visual Assessment Scales During Treatment for Acute Decompensated Heart Failure

      Symptomatic improvement through decongestive therapy is a cornerstone for treatment of acute decompensated heart failure (ADHF). Visual analog scales (VAS) are instruments that can capture patients' perceptions of dyspnea (DVAS) or global well-being (GVAS). However, the clinical implications of these instruments and their changes over time during treatment for ADHF need further clarification. DVAS and GVAS were collected in 657 patients randomized in the DOSE-AHF and ROSE-AHF trials. To determine factors associated with symptom change, multivariable predictors of changes in DVAS and GVAS over 72 hours were determined. In addition, time-to-event analyses determined the association between these assessments and post-discharge clinical outcomes. The median baseline DVAS and GVAS scores were 54 (interquartile range 35 to 76) and 50 (30 to 66), respectively. These scores increased from baseline to 72 hours (ΔDVAS 16 [0 to 35] and ΔGVAS 19 [2 to 37]). Although changes in both scales were associated with their baseline values, 72-hour change in NT-proBNP was associated with each scale in multivariable analysis. However, there were additional variables associated with 72-hour change in GVAS including 72-hour change in creatinine, implantable cardioverter-defibrillator presence, baseline loop diuretic dose, and 72-hour total loop diuretic dose. There were no consistent associations between DVAS or GVAS and clinical composite outcomes at 60 days. In conclusion, DVAS and GVAS may be related to different clinical factors during treatment for ADHF and VAS scores were not consistently associated with clinical outcomes in ADHF. These findings inform the utility of the DVAS and GVAS instruments as measurements of symptom change for future ADHF clinical trials and registries.
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