London, May 1 : Being unemployed is associated with a 50 per cent higher risk of death in patients with heart failure than previously known risk factors such as diabetes or stroke, shows a study.
"The ability to hold a job brings valuable information on well-being and performance status," said lead author Rasmus Roerth from Copenhagen University Hospital, Denmark.
On the other hand, being out of work has been associated with increased risk of depression, mental health problems and even suicide.
"In younger patients with heart failure, employment status could be a potential predictor of morbidity and mortality," Roerth added.
The findings were presented at the Heart Failure 2017 and the 4th World Congress on Acute Heart Failure.
For the study, the team included all patients of working age (18 to 60 years) with a first hospitalisation for heart failure in Denmark between 1997 and 2012. Of the 21,455 patients with a first hospitalisation for heart failure, 11,880 (55 per cent) were part of the workforce at baseline.
During an average follow up of 1,005 days, 16 per cent of employed and 31 per cent of unemployed patients died, while 40 per cent of employed and 42 per cent of unemployed patients were re-hospitalised for heart failure.
After adjusting for age, sex, education level and comorbidities, heart failure patients unemployed at baseline had a 50 per cent increased risk of death and 12 per cent increased risk of re-hospitalisation for heart failure compared to those who were employed.
Thus, employment status could help to risk stratify young heart failure patients and identify those needing more intensive rehabilitation, the study showed.