Predicting heart failure mortality in frail seniors: Comparing the NYHA functional classification with the Resident Assessment Instrument (RAI) 2.0
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BACKGROUND: Though the NYHA functional classification is recommended in clinical settings, concerns have been raised about its reliability particularly among older patients. The RAI 2.0 is a comprehensive assessment system specifically developed for frail seniors. We hypothesized that a prognostic model for heart failure (HF) developed from the RAI 2.0 would be superior to the NYHA classification. The purpose of this study was to determine whether a HF-specific prognostic model based on the RAI 2.0 is superior to the NYHA functional classification in predicting mortality in frail older HF patients. METHODS: Secondary analysis of data from a prospective cohort study of a HF education program for care providers in long-term care and retirement homes. Univariate analyses identified RAI 2.0 variables predicting death at 6 months. These and the NYHA classification were used to develop logistic models. RESULTS: Two RAI 2.0 models were derived. The first includes six items: "weight gain of 5% or more of total body weight over 30 days", "leaving 25% or more food uneaten", "unable to lie flat", "unstable cognitive, ADL, moods, or behavioural patterns", "change in cognitive function" and "needing help to walk in room"; the C statistic was 0.866. The second includes the CHESS health instability scale and the item "requiring help walking in room"; the C statistic was 0.838. The C statistic for the NYHA scale was 0.686. CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that data from the RAI 2.0, an instrument for comprehensive assessment of frail seniors, can better predict mortality than the NYHA classification.