A facilitated home-based cardiac rehabilitation intervention for people with heart failure and their caregivers: a research programme including the REACH-HF RCT

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Authors

  • Hasnain M Dalal
  • Rod S Taylor
  • Jennifer Wingham
  • Chim C Lang
  • Karen M Smith
  • Patrick J Doherty
  • Jackie Miles
  • Robin van Lingen
  • Fiona C Warren
  • Susannah Sadler
  • Charles Abraham
  • Nicky Britten
  • Julia Frost
  • Melvyn Hillsdon
  • Sally Singh
  • Christopher Hayward
  • Victoria Eyre
  • Kevin Paul

Abstract

Background: Rates of participation in centre (hospital)-cardiac rehabilitation by patients with heart failure are suboptimal. Heart failure has two main phenotypes differing in underlying pathophysiology: heart failure with reduced ejection fraction is characterised by depressed left ventricular systolic function (‘reduced ejection fraction’), whereas heart failure with preserved ejection fraction is diagnosed after excluding other causes of dyspnoea with normal ejection fraction. This programme aimed to develop and evaluate a facilitated home-based cardiac rehabilitation intervention that could increase the uptake of cardiac rehabilitation while delivering the clinical benefits of centre-based cardiac rehabilitation.

Objectives: To develop an evidence-informed, home-based, self-care cardiac rehabilitation programme for patients with heart failure and their caregivers [the REACH-HF (Rehabilitation Enablement in Chronic Heart Failure) intervention]. To conduct a pilot randomised controlled trial to assess the feasibility of a full trial of the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of the REACH-HF intervention in addition to usual care in patients with heart failure with preserved ejection fraction. To assess the short- and long-term clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of the REACH-HF intervention in addition to usual care in patients with heart failure with reduced ejection fraction and their caregivers.

Design: Intervention mapping to develop the REACH-HF intervention; uncontrolled feasibility study; pilot randomised controlled trial in those with heart failure with preserved ejection fraction; randomised controlled trial with a trial-based cost-effectiveness analysis in those with heart failure with reduced ejection fraction; qualitative studies including process evaluation; systematic review of cardiac rehabilitation in heart failure; and modelling to assess long-term cost-effectiveness (in those with heart failure with reduced ejection fraction).

Setting: Four centres in England and Wales (Birmingham, Cornwall, Gwent and York); one centre in Scotland (Dundee) for a pilot randomised controlled trial.

Participants: Adults aged ≥ 18 years with heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (left ventricular ejection fraction < 45%) for the main randomised controlled trial (n = 216), and those with heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (left ventricular ejection fraction ≥ 45%) for the pilot randomised controlled trial (n = 50).

Intervention: A self-care, facilitated cardiac rehabilitation manual was offered to patients (and participating caregivers) at home over 12 weeks by trained health-care professionals in addition to usual care or usual care alone.

Main outcome measures: The primary outcome was disease-specific health-related quality of life measured using the Minnesota Living with Heart Failure Questionnaire at 12 months. Secondary outcomes included deaths and hospitalisations.

Results: The main randomised controlled trial recruited 216 participants with heart failure with reduced ejection fraction and 97 caregivers. A significant and clinically meaningful between-group difference in the Minnesota Living with Heart Failure Questionnaire score (primary outcome) at 12 months (–5.7 points, 95% confidence interval –10.6 to –0.7 points) favoured the REACH-HF intervention (p = 0.025). Eight (4%) patients (four in each group) had died at 12 months. There was no significant difference in hospital admissions, at 12 months, with 19 participants in the REACH-HF intervention group having at least one hospital admission, compared with 24 participants in the control group (odds ratio 0.72, 95% confidence interval 0.35 to 1.51; p = 0.386). The mean cost of the intervention was £418 per participant with heart failure with reduced ejection fraction. The costs at 12 months were, on average, £401 higher in the intervention group than in the usual care alone group. Model-based economic evaluation, extrapolating from the main randomised controlled trial in those with heart failure with reduced ejection fraction over 4 years, found that adding the REACH-HF intervention to usual care had an estimated mean cost per participant of £15,452 (95% confidence interval £14,240 to £16,780) and a mean quality-adjusted life-year gain of 4.47 (95% confidence interval 3.83 to 4.91) years, compared with £15,051 (95% confidence interval £13,844 to £16,289) and 4.24 (95% confidence interval 4.05 to 4.43) years, respectively, for usual care alone. This gave an incremental cost per quality-adjusted life-year of £1721. The probabilistic sensitivity analysis indicated 78% probability that the intervention plus usual care versus usual care alone has a cost-effectiveness below the willingness-to-pay threshold of £20,000 per quality-adjusted life-year gained. The intervention was well received by participants with heart failure with reduced ejection fraction and those with heart failure with preserved ejection fraction, as well as their caregivers. Both randomised controlled trials recruited to target, with > 85% retention at follow-up.

Limitations: Key limitations included (1) lack of blinding – given the nature of the intervention and the control we could not mask participants to treatments, so our results may reflect participant expectation bias; (2) that we were not able to capture consistent participant-level data on level of intervention adherence; (3) that there may be an impact on the generalisability of findings due to the demographics of the trial patients, as most were male (78%) and we recruited only seven people from ethnic minorities.

Conclusions: Evaluation of the comprehensive, facilitated, home-based REACH-HF intervention for participants with heart failure with reduced ejection fraction and caregivers indicated clinical effectiveness in terms of health-related quality of life and patient self-care but no other secondary outcomes. Although the economic analysis conducted alongside the full randomised controlled trial did not produce significant differences on the EuroQol-5 Dimensions or in quality-adjusted life-years, economic modelling suggested greater cost-effectiveness of the intervention than usual care. Our REACH-HF intervention offers a new evidence-based cardiac rehabilitation option that could increase uptake of cardiac rehabilitation in patients with heart failure not attracted to or able to access hospital-based programmes.

Future work: Systematic collection of real-world data would track future changes in uptake of and adherence to alternative cardiac rehabilitation interventions in heart failure with reduced ejection fraction and increase understanding of how changes in service delivery might affect clinical and health economic outcomes. The findings of our pilot randomised controlled trial in patients with heart failure with preserved ejection fraction support progression to a full multicentre randomised controlled trial.

Trial registration: Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN86234930 and ISRCTN78539530.

Funding details: This project was funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Programme Grants for Applied Research programme and will be published in full in Programme Grants for Applied Research; Vol. 9, No. 1. See the NIHR Journals Library website for further project information.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-134
Number of pages134
JournalProgramme Grants for Applied Research
Volume9
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 28 Feb 2021