Quality of life in patients receiving telemedicine enhanced chronic heart failure disease management: a meta-analysis

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Knox, L. ; Rahman, R. ; Beedie, C. (2016)

Background Previous reviews have investigated the effectiveness of telemedicine in the treatment of heart failure (HF). Dependent variables have included hospitalisations, mortality rates, disease knowledge and health costs. Few reviews, however, have examined the variable of health-related quality of life (QoL).\ud Methods Randomised controlled trials comparing the delivery methods of any form of telemedicine with usual care for the provision of HF disease-management were identified via searches of all relevant databases and reference lists. Studies had to report a quantitative measure for mental, physical or overall QoL in order to be included.\ud Results A total of 33 studies were identified. However, poor reporting of data resulted in the exclusion of seven, leaving 26 studies with 7066 participants. Three separate, random effects meta-analyses were conducted for mental, physical and overall QoL. Telemedicine was not significantly more effective than usual care on mental and physical QoL (standardised mean difference (SMD) 0.03, (95% confidence interval (CI) −0.05–0.12), p = 0.45 and SMD 0.24, (95% CI −0.08–0.56), p = 0.14, respectively). However, when compared to usual care, telemedicine was associated with a small significant increase in overall QoL (SMD 0.23, (95% CI 0.09–0.37), p = 0.001). Moderator analyses indicated that telemedicine delivered over a long-duration (≥52 weeks) and via telemonitoring was most beneficial.\ud Conclusion Compared to usual care, telemedicine significantly increases overall QoL in patients receiving HF disease management. Statistically non-significant but nonetheless positive trends were also observed for physical QoL. These findings provide preliminary support for the use of telemedicine in the management of heart failure without jeopardising patient well-being.
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