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GeriPal - A Geriatrics and Palliative Care Podcast

Oct 22, 2020

There are a lot of large numbers that involve heart failure, starting with the sheer number of patients diagnosed (6.5 million and counting), to the cost of their care (~$70 billion by 2030), to the amount of money invested by the NIH into research ($1 billion annually). But the smaller numbers deserve attention too - 50% of patients die within 5 years of their diagnosis, those older than 65 in the hospital die even sooner at ~2.1 years thereafter, the median survival on hospice since hospital discharge is 11 days, and <10% of patients with heart failure receive a palliative care consult. So what can we do to bridge the gap between heart failure and palliative care?

As a current palliative care fellow and former hospitalist on UCSF's Advanced Heart Failure service, I have a strong interest in this question. This week I was lucky to have Alex and Eric let me join in interviewing Haider Warraich, Associate Director of Heart Failure at the Boston Veterans Affairs Hospital and Associate Professor at Brigham and Women's Hospital, a cardiologist trained in advanced heart failure and with a strong interest in palliative care who has written multiple books (Modern Death: How Medicine Changed the End of LifeState of the Heart: Exploring the History, Science, and Future of Cardiac Disease), op eds, and research articles on the subject.  

In the podcast we talk about all things heart failure - from the culture of cardiology, how to impart palliative care on trainees, and practical tips on helping predict prognosis and symptom management. For more reading be sure to check out Haider's article in JPM on Top 10 Tips for Palliative Care Clinicians Caring for Heart Failure Patients and his article with Diane Meier in NEJM on Serious Illness 2.0 - Meeting the Needs of Patients with Heart Failure

- Anne Rohlfing