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Wien Klin Wochenschr. 2002 Oct 31;114(19-20):833-9.

[Adaptation of guidelines for the treatment of chronic heart failure in a specialized heart failure clinic].

[Article in German]

Author information

  • 1Klinische Abteilung für Kardiologie, Universitätsklinik Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Osterreich.



Chronic heart failure is associated with high mortality and morbidity. In spite of a number of trials showing significant improvement in survival and reduction in hospitalization for patients who received ACE inhibitors/AT1 receptor antagonists (ACEI/ARB), beta-blockers and spironolactone, and notwithstanding the recommendations of national and international guidelines for the management of heart failure, substantial proportions of patients are not receiving this treatment. The aim of our study was to analyse 1. the efficiency of a specialized heart failure clinic in translating guidelines into clinical practice, and 2. the effect of optimized neurohormonal therapy on patient outcome.


The data of patients with systolic heart failure and an ejection fraction < or = 35% referred to the Innsbruck Heart Failure and Transplantation Program between February 2000 and October 2001 were analysed. The number of patients treated with ACEI/ARB, beta-blocker and spironolactone increased significantly in the investigation period (p < 0.05). Equivalent dose for captopril and bisoprolol per patient developed from 66.4 +/- 42.8 to 96.5 +/- 41.9 mg (p < 0.001) and from 2.0 +/- 2.9 to 6.3 +/- 4.0 mg (p < 0.001), respectively. Optimization of neurohormonal therapy was associated with a significant improvement in NYHA class (2.5 +/- 0.8 vs. 1.9 +/- 0.8; p < 0.001). No relevant changes were noticed for blood pressure, serum creatinine, serum sodium, and serum potassium, whereas heart rate dropped significantly. Kaplan-Meier curves examining the time to first event of the combined end point of mortality and hospitalisation for worsening heart failure revealed a clear benefit for patients on combined neurohormonal therapy (ACEI/ARB and beta-blocker, n = 86) when compared with patients on neurohormonal monotherapy (ACEI/ARB or beta-blocker, n = 35), (p < or = 0.001). Differences remained significant (p = 0.022) after adjusting for NYHA class at referral, age, gender, etiology of the underlying cardiomyopathy, ejection fraction, and atrial fibrillation in Cox regression analysis.


Guidelines for the management of chronic heart failure patients can be translated efficiently into clinical practice by a specialized heart failure clinic. Optimization of therapy is associated with an improvement in functional status and a decrease in mortality or hospitalization for worsening heart failure. Therefore the nationwide installation of specialized heart failure clinics is required.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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