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The benefits of thermal clothing during winter in patients with heart failure: a pilot randomised controlled trial.


ABSTRACT: To examine whether providing thermal clothing to heart failure patients improves their health during winter.A randomised controlled trial with an intervention group and a usual care group.Heart failure clinic in a large tertiary referral hospital in Brisbane, Australia.Eligible participants were those with known systolic heart failure who were over 50 years of age and lived in Southeast Queensland. Participants were excluded if they lived in a residential aged care facility, had incontinence or were unable to give informed consent. Fifty-five participants were randomised and 50 completed.Participants randomised to the intervention received two thermal hats and tops and a digital thermometer.The primary outcome was the mean number of days in hospital. Secondary outcomes were the number of general practitioner (GP) visits and self-rated health.The mean number of days in hospital per 100 winter days was 2.5 in the intervention group and 1.8 in the usual care group, with a mean difference of 0.7 (95% CI -1.5 to 5.4). The intervention group had 0.2 fewer GP visits on average (95% CI -0.8 to 0.3), and a higher self-rated health, mean improvement -0.3 (95% CI -0.9 to 0.3). The thermal tops were generally well used, but even in cold temperatures the hats were only worn by 30% of the participants.Thermal clothes are a cheap and simple intervention, but further work needs to be done on increasing compliance and confirming the health and economic benefits of providing thermals to at-risk groups.The study was registered with the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ACTRN12612000378820).

SUBMITTER: Barnett AG 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC3641493 | BioStudies | 2013-01-01T00:00:00Z

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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