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Technical Report

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Age and Ageing





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Background: health-related quality of life (HRQOL) is markedly impaired in patients with heart failure (HF). Despite worse prognosis and physical status, older patients have better HRQOL than younger patients.

Objective: to determine reasons for differences in HRQOL in older compared with younger HF patients.

Methods: a mixed methods approach was used. HRQOL was assessed using the Minnesota Living with HF Questionnaire and compared among HF patients (n = 603) in four age groups (≤53, 54–62, 63–70 and ≥71 years). Socio-demographic/clinical and psychological factors related to HRQOL were determined in four groups using multiple regressions. Patients (n = 20) described their views of HRQOL during semi-structured interviews.

Results: HRQOL was worse in the youngest group, and best in the two oldest groups. The youngest group reported higher levels of depression and anxiety than the oldest group. Anxiety, depression and functional capacity predicted HRQOL in all age groups. Qualitatively, patients in all age groups acknowledged the negative impact of HF on HRQOL; nonetheless older patients reported that their HRQOL exceeded their expectations for their age. Younger patients bemoaned the loss of activities and roles, and reported their HRQOL as poor.

Conclusions: better HRQOL among older HF patients is the result, in part, of better psychosocial status. The major factor driving better HRQOL among older patients is a change with advancing age in expectations about what constitutes good HRQOL.

Copyright/Permission Statement

This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in Age and Ageing following peer review. The version of record [Moser, D.K., Heo, S., Lee, K.S., Hammash, M., Riegel, B., Lennie, T.A., Arslanian-Engoren, C., Mudd-Martin, G., Albert, N., & Watkins, J. 'It could be worse ... lot's worse!' Why health-related quality of life is better in older compared with younger individuals with heart failure. Age and Ageing 42, no. 5: pp. 626-632] is available online at:


health-related quality of life, older adults, anxiety, depression, older people



Date Posted: 25 August 2018

This document has been peer reviewed.