Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 25, Issue 8, pp 2463–2473 | Cite as

Functional status and quality of life among breast cancer survivors with heart failure: results of the Medicare Health Outcomes Survey

  • Jordan M. HarrisonEmail author
  • Matthew A. Davis
  • Debra L. Barton
  • Nancy K. Janz
  • Susan J. Pressler
  • Christopher R. Friese
Original Article



The purpose of this population-based study was to examine health-related quality of life (HRQOL) and functional status among breast cancer survivors with heart failure.


We examined Medicare Health Outcomes Survey data from women aged 65 and older diagnosed with breast cancer in the past 5 years. Surveys were linked to Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results cancer registries. Each woman identified with self-reported heart failure (n = 239) was matched to controls without heart failure (n = 685) using propensity scores. The Short Form-36/Veterans Rand-12 measured eight domains of HRQOL. Functional status impairment was measured by limitations in six activities of daily living (ADLs). Linear models estimated associations between heart failure status and HRQOL. Logistic regression models estimated odds ratios for associations between heart failure and ADL impairment. We examined associations for the total study population and subgroups stratified by cancer stage.


Among all study participants, heart failure was associated with significant deficits in every HRQOL domain and impairment in all ADLs (p < 0.01, ORs ranged from 1.74 to 2.47). After stratification by cancer stage, heart failure was associated with physical HRQOL deficits across all cancer stages (physical function, vitality, general health) and mental HRQOL deficits only in women with stage I/II cancer (role-emotional, social function). Women with early stage cancer experienced the greatest HRQOL deficits associated with heart failure.


Heart failure in breast cancer survivors is associated with substantial HRQOL deficits and functional status impairment, particularly in early stage cancer. Tailored interventions are needed to improve physical function and mental wellbeing in this high-risk population.


Breast cancer Cancer survivor Heart failure Comorbidity Health-related quality of life Patient report 


Compliance with ethical standards


This work was supported by funding from Rackham Graduate School at the University of Michigan and through resources supported by the University of Michigan Hillman Scholars Program.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Protection of human subjects

The study protocol was reviewed and approved by the University of Michigan Institutional Review Board—Health Sciences and Behavioral Sciences, protocol number HUM00102037. The final results do not include any data that could be used to identify patients.

Informed consent

For this retrospective study, formal consent was not required.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jordan M. Harrison
    • 1
    Email author
  • Matthew A. Davis
    • 1
  • Debra L. Barton
    • 1
  • Nancy K. Janz
    • 2
  • Susan J. Pressler
    • 3
  • Christopher R. Friese
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Systems, Populations, and Leadership, School of NursingUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  2. 2.Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, School of Public HealthUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  3. 3.Center for Enhancing Quality of Life in Chronic Illness, School of NursingIndiana UniversityIndianapolisUSA

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