Multimorbidity and Functional Limitation in Individuals with Heart Failure: A Prospective Community Study

Sheila M. Manemann, Alanna M. Chamberlain, Véronique L. Roger, Cynthia Boyd, Andrea Cheville, Shannon M. Dunlay, Susan A. Weston, Ruoxiang Jiang, Lila J.Finney Rutten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Objectives: To characterize the individual and combined effects of multimorbidity and functional limitation on healthcare use and mortality in a large, community cohort of individuals with heart failure (HF). Design: Prospective cohort study. Setting: Eleven southeastern Minnesota counties. Participants: Individuals (mean age 74, 54% male) with a first-ever HF code (International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision code 428 or Tenth Revision code I50) between January 1, 2013 and March 31, 2016 (N=2,692). Measurements: Eight activities of daily living measured using a survey on a Likert scale (1=without any difficulty, 5=unable to do; median=8). Participants with a score greater than 8 were categorized as having functional limitation. Multimorbidity was defined as having 2 or more noncardiac comorbidities. Results: Twenty-five percent of participants had neither multimorbidity nor functional limitation, 35% had multimorbidity, 9% had functional limitation, and 31% had both. After adjustment, participants with multimorbidity and functional limitation had greater risks of all outcomes (death: hazard ratio (HR)=4.92, 95% confidence interval (CI)=3.03–8.00; emergency department (ED) visit: HR=3.67, 95% CI=2.94–4.59; hospitalization: HR=3.66, 95% CI=2.85–4.70; outpatient visit: HR=1.73, 95% CI=1.52–1.96) than those with neither. Participants with functional limitation alone had greater risks of death (HR=4.84, 95% CI=2.78–8.43), ED visits (HR=2.35, 95% CI=1.75–3.16), and hospitalizations (HR=2.10, 95% CI=1.52–2.88) but not outpatient visits. Those with multimorbidity alone had similar risks of ED visits and hospitalizations as those with functional limitation alone but were more likely to have outpatient visits (HR=1.50, 95% CI=1.34–1.67). Conclusion: Individuals with both multimorbidity and functional limitation have the highest risk of death and healthcare use. Individuals with only functional limitation have similar rates of hospitalizations and ED visits as those with only multimorbidity, underscoring the need to consider both when managing individuals with HF.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1101-1107
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2018


  • functional limitation
  • heart failure
  • multimorbidity
  • outcomes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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