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      Implementation of the Mental Capacity Act: a national observational study comparing resultant trends in place of death for older heart failure decedents with or without comorbid dementia


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          Heart failure (HF) is increasingly prevalent in the growing elderly population and commonly associated with cognitive impairment. We compared trends in place of death (PoD) of HF patients with/without comorbid dementia around the implementation period of the Mental Capacity Act (MCA) in October 2007, this legislation supporting patient-centred decision making for those with reduced agency.


          Analyses of death certification data for England between January 2001 and December 2018, describing the PoD and sociodemographic characteristics of all people ≥ 65 years registered with HF as the underlying cause of death, with/without a mention of comorbid dementia. We used modified Poisson regression with robust error variance to determine the prevalence ratio (PR) of the outcome in dying at home, in care homes or hospices compared to dying in hospital. Covariates included year of death, age, gender, marital status, comorbidity burden, index of multiple deprivation and urban/rural settings.


          One hundred twenty thousand sixty-eight HF-related death records were included of which 8199 mentioned dementia as a contributory cause. The overall prevalence proportion of dementia was 6.8%, the trend significantly increasing from 5.6 to 8.0% pre- and post-MCA (Cochran-Armitage trend test p < 0.0001). Dementia was coded as unspecified (78.2%), Alzheimer’s disease (13.5%) and vascular (8.3%). Demented decedents were commonly older, female, and with more comorbidities. Pre-MCA, PoD for non-demented HF patients was hospital 68.2%, care homes 20.2% and 10.7% dying at home. Corresponding figures for those with comorbid dementia were 47.6%, 48.0% and 4.2%, respectively. Following MCA enforcement, PoD for those without dementia shifted from hospital to home, 62.5% and 17.2%, respectively; PR: 1.026 [95%CI: 1.024–1.029]. While home deaths also rose to 10.0% for those with dementia, with hospital deaths increasing to 50.4%, this trend was insignificant, PR: 1.001 [0.988–1.015]. Care home deaths reduced for all, with/without dementia, PR: 0.959 [0.949–0.969] and PR: 0.996 [0.993–0.998], respectively. Hospice as PoD was rare for both groups with no appreciable change over the study period.


          Our analyses suggest the MCA did not materially affect the PoD of HF decedents with comorbid dementia, likely reflecting difficulties implementing this legislation in real-life clinical practice.

          Supplementary Information

          The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1186/s12916-021-02210-2.

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          Relative risk is usually the parameter of interest in epidemiologic and medical studies. In this paper, the author proposes a modified Poisson regression approach (i.e., Poisson regression with a robust error variance) to estimate this effect measure directly. A simple 2-by-2 table is used to justify the validity of this approach. Results from a limited simulation study indicate that this approach is very reliable even with total sample sizes as small as 100. The method is illustrated with two data sets.
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            Angiotensin–Neprilysin Inhibition versus Enalapril in Heart Failure

            We compared the angiotensin receptor-neprilysin inhibitor LCZ696 with enalapril in patients who had heart failure with a reduced ejection fraction. In previous studies, enalapril improved survival in such patients. In this double-blind trial, we randomly assigned 8442 patients with class II, III, or IV heart failure and an ejection fraction of 40% or less to receive either LCZ696 (at a dose of 200 mg twice daily) or enalapril (at a dose of 10 mg twice daily), in addition to recommended therapy. The primary outcome was a composite of death from cardiovascular causes or hospitalization for heart failure, but the trial was designed to detect a difference in the rates of death from cardiovascular causes. The trial was stopped early, according to prespecified rules, after a median follow-up of 27 months, because the boundary for an overwhelming benefit with LCZ696 had been crossed. At the time of study closure, the primary outcome had occurred in 914 patients (21.8%) in the LCZ696 group and 1117 patients (26.5%) in the enalapril group (hazard ratio in the LCZ696 group, 0.80; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.73 to 0.87; P<0.001). A total of 711 patients (17.0%) receiving LCZ696 and 835 patients (19.8%) receiving enalapril died (hazard ratio for death from any cause, 0.84; 95% CI, 0.76 to 0.93; P<0.001); of these patients, 558 (13.3%) and 693 (16.5%), respectively, died from cardiovascular causes (hazard ratio, 0.80; 95% CI, 0.71 to 0.89; P<0.001). As compared with enalapril, LCZ696 also reduced the risk of hospitalization for heart failure by 21% (P<0.001) and decreased the symptoms and physical limitations of heart failure (P=0.001). The LCZ696 group had higher proportions of patients with hypotension and nonserious angioedema but lower proportions with renal impairment, hyperkalemia, and cough than the enalapril group. LCZ696 was superior to enalapril in reducing the risks of death and of hospitalization for heart failure. (Funded by Novartis; PARADIGM-HF ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT01035255.).
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              Epidemiology and aetiology of heart failure.

              Heart failure (HF) is a rapidly growing public health issue with an estimated prevalence of >37.7 million individuals globally. HF is a shared chronic phase of cardiac functional impairment secondary to many aetiologies, and patients with HF experience numerous symptoms that affect their quality of life, including dyspnoea, fatigue, poor exercise tolerance, and fluid retention. Although the underlying causes of HF vary according to sex, age, ethnicity, comorbidities, and environment, the majority of cases remain preventable. HF is associated with increased morbidity and mortality, and confers a substantial burden to the health-care system. HF is a leading cause of hospitalization among adults and the elderly. In the USA, the total medical costs for patients with HF are expected to rise from US$20.9 billion in 2012 to $53.1 billion by 2030. Improvements in the medical management of risk factors and HF have stabilized the incidence of this disease in many countries. In this Review, we provide an overview of the latest epidemiological data on HF, and propose future directions for reducing the ever-increasing HF burden.

                Author and article information

                BMC Med
                BMC Med
                BMC Medicine
                BioMed Central (London )
                20 January 2022
                20 January 2022
                : 20
                : 30
                [1 ]GRID grid.13097.3c, ISNI 0000 0001 2322 6764, Cicely Saunders Institute of Palliative Care and Rehabilitation, , King’s College London, ; London, UK
                [2 ]GRID grid.13097.3c, ISNI 0000 0001 2322 6764, School of Cardiovascular Medicine and Sciences, , King’s College London, ; London, UK
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                © The Author(s) 2022

                Open AccessThis article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.

                : 17 June 2021
                : 7 December 2021
                Funded by: FundRef http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/501100000272, national institute for health research;
                Award ID: ARC
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                Research Article
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                © The Author(s) 2022

                heart failure,dementia,place of death,mental capacity act,comorbidity
                heart failure, dementia, place of death, mental capacity act, comorbidity


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