A heart transplant, for instance, may seem
like a new beginning to a patient, but the
doctor knows that it is also trading one set of
symptoms and complications for another. For
example, a transplant may increase survival
and improve quality of life, but there is also
the possibility of the body rejecting the new
heart and increased risk of infection.
Surgery always involves risk, and people can
end up in the hospital with complications. In
addition to these risks and caregiver burden, the
cost of the treatment is something to think about.
In some cases, the unpredictability of living
with a device like an implantable cardioverter
defibrillator (ICD) that delivers electrical shocks
to the heart when it detects a dangerous rhythm
must be considered.
These considerations make it more difficult
to weigh the risks and benefits. “Shared decision
making would ask that we have a conversation
about whether this is a good therapy for an
individual patient,” Allen said. “That really
depends on their values, goals and preferences.”
Clyde W. Yancy, M.D., discusses the doctor-patient relationship.
42% of Americans understand
the cause of heart failure