Program #907 • Available October 15, 2013
Certified for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ through October 15, 2016

Guiding Cardiovascular Patients and Their Families
at the End of Life

Lynne W. Stevenson, MD
Director, Cardiomyopathy and Heart Failure Program
Brigham and Women's Hospital
Professor of Medicine
Harvard Medical School
Boston, MA

Program Description

In this video segment from the 36.5 hour Brigham and Women’s "Cardiovascular Medicine Update for the Practitioner 2013" Board Review Course (available at, Dr. Stevenson emphasizes that palliative therapies to control symptoms, address quality of life, and enhance communication are relevant throughout the course of cardiovascular disease, not just in advanced disease. She points out that palliative therapies work hand in hand with traditional therapies designed to prolong survival. Finally, she explains that the critical transition into advanced heart failure from the medical perspective is often followed by a transition in goals of care from the patient and family perspective, wherein palliative therapies may become the dominant treatment paradigm. As the end of life is anticipated, clinicians should shoulder responsibility for initiating the development of a plan for end-of-life care consistent with patient values, preferences, and goals.

(35 minutes)

Method of Participation and Evaluation

To participate in this CME activity, please read the following information and click "Launch Program" at the bottom of this page. Complete the online evaluation at the conclusion of the activity. You may print your certificate immediately after completion of the evaluation. Please note: To view this program you need a computer with an Internet browser and audio and video capabilities.

Credit Information

Up to 0.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit

This CME activity is designed for cardiologists, internists, primary care physicians, psychiatrists, and other healthcare professionals with an interest in optimizing end-of-life care for patients with advanced cardiovascular disease.

This activity is provided by the Foundation for Improving Patient Outcomes.

Learning Objectives

After taking part in this CME activity, learners should be better able to:

  • Develop strategies to counsel cardiovascular patients and their families on end-of-life care
  • Apply practical methods used in oncology to help patients and their families embrace palliative care
  • Assist advanced heart failure patients and families in deactivation decisions of potentially life-prolonging devices (ICDs and VADs) to allow natural death

Faculty Disclosures:

Lynne W. Stevenson, MD reports no significant financial relationships with commercial interests.

The independent reviewers report no significant financial relationships with commercial interests.
The staff at the Foundation for Improving Patient Outcomes report no significant financial relationships with commercial interests.

CME Credit Designations

ACCME The Foundation for Improving Patient Outcomes (FFIPO) is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

AMA FFIPO designates this educational activity for a maximum of 0.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of the activity.

AOA This activity is eligible for up to .5 hour of credit in Category 2-A of the American Osteopathic Association.

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