Heart Failure Reviews

, Volume 22, Issue 5, pp 611–620 | Cite as

Primary palliative care for heart failure: what is it? How do we implement it?

  • Laura P. GelfmanEmail author
  • Dio Kavalieratos
  • Winifred G. Teuteberg
  • Anuradha Lala
  • Nathan E. Goldstein


Heart failure (HF) is a chronic and progressive illness, which affects a growing number of adults, and is associated with a high morbidity and mortality, as well as significant physical and psychological symptom burden on both patients with HF and their families. Palliative care is the multidisciplinary specialty focused on optimizing quality of life and reducing suffering for patients and families facing serious illness, regardless of prognosis. Palliative care can be delivered as (1) specialist palliative care in which a palliative care specialist with subspecialty palliative care training consults or co-manages patients to address palliative needs alongside clinicians who manage the underlying illness or (2) as primary palliative care in which the primary clinician (such as the internist, cardiologist, cardiology nurse, or HF specialist) caring for the patient with HF provides the essential palliative domains. In this paper, we describe the key domains of primary palliative care for patients with HF and offer some specific ways in which primary palliative care and specialist palliative care can be offered in this population. Although there is little research on HF primary palliative care, primary palliative care in HF offers a key opportunity to ensure that this population receives high-quality palliative care in spite of the growing numbers of patients with HF as well as the limited number of specialist palliative care providers.


Heart failure Palliative care 


Compliance with ethical standards

Funding sources

Dr. Gelfman receives support from the National Institute on Aging (NIA) (1K23AG049930), the Mount Sinai Older Adults Independence Center (P30AG028741), the American Federation on Aging Research, and the National Palliative Care Research Center. Dr. Kavalieratos receives research support from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (K01HL13346), the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, as well as a Junior Faculty Career Development Award from the National Palliative Care Research Center. Dr. Teueteberg receives support from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Dr. Goldstein receives support from The Mount Sinai Older Adults Independence Center (P30AG028741).

Ethical standards

The manuscript does not contain clinical studies or patient data. This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York (Outside the USA) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laura P. Gelfman
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Dio Kavalieratos
    • 3
  • Winifred G. Teuteberg
    • 3
  • Anuradha Lala
    • 4
  • Nathan E. Goldstein
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Brookdale Department of Geriatrics and Palliative MedicineIcahn School of Medicine at Mount SinaiNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Geriatric Research Education and Clinical CenterJames J. Peters VA Medical CenterBronxUSA
  3. 3.Department of Medicine, Division of General Internal Medicine, Section of Palliative Care and Medical EthicsUniversity of Pittsburgh Medical CenterPittsburghUSA
  4. 4.Divisions of Cardiology and Population Health Science and PolicyIcahn School of Medicine at Mount SinaiNew YorkUSA

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