A Comparative Study of Pain in Heart Failure and Non-Heart Failure Veterans

Joy R. Goebel, Lynn V. Doering, Lorraine S. Evangelista, Adeline M. Nyamathi, Sally L. Maliski, Steven M. Asch, Cathy D. Sherbourne, Lisa R. Shugarman, Andy B. Lanto, Angela Cohen, Karl A. Lorenz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Background: Progress has been made in addressing pain in specific diseases such as cancer, but less attention has focused on understanding pain in nonmalignant states, including heart failure (HF). Methods and Results: From March 2006 to June 2007, 672 veterans were surveyed and scores for the Brief Pain Inventory, pain distress, clinically significant pain levels (moderate to severe pain), and pain locations were compared using univariate and multivariate models. Fifteen percent of the final sample had HF (95/634). In our study, the HF patients were older (P < .000), reported lower levels of general health (P = .018), had more co-morbidities (P < .000), were more likely to have a history of cancer (P = .035), and suffered more chest pain and fewer headaches (P = .026, P = .03, respectively) than their non-HF cohorts. When controlling for age, co-morbidity and cancer disorders, HF and non-HF patients did not differ in pain severity, interference, distress or locations. Of the patients currently experiencing pain, 67.3% of HF patients and 68.4% of non-HF patients rated their pain as moderate or severe (pain ≥4 on a 0 to 10 scale). Conclusions: Although HF has not been identified as a painful condition, this study suggests the burden of pain is significant for both HF and non-HF ambulatory care patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)24-30
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Cardiac Failure
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Palliative care
  • chronic pain
  • non-malignant pain
  • symptoms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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