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Rev Port Cardiol. 2007 Apr;26(4):335-43.

Impact of a specialized outpatient heart failure follow-up program on hospitalization frequency and functional status of patients with advanced heart failure.

[Article in English, Portuguese]

Author information

  • 1Serviço de Cardiologia, Hospitais da Universidade de Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal. joana.s.correia@oninet.pt

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

High rates of morbidity and mortality are observed in patients with advanced heart failure (AHF). AHF is now considered the most costly syndrome in cardiology owing to the substantial economic burden associated with hospitalizations for acute decompensation. A management program that involves specialized follow-up by a multidisciplinary team has been suggested as a desirable strategy for improving outcomes for these patients.

OBJECTIVE:

To evaluate the impact of a specialized outpatient heart failure (HF) follow-up program for patients with AHF on frequency and duration of hospitalization for HF and functional status.

METHODS:

We retrospectively studied 167 consecutive patients with AHF who were referred to the outpatient HF follow-up program in our institution between January and November 2002, of whom 147 followed for > or =30 days were included in the analysis. In addition to demographic and baseline clinical characteristics, HF medication and NYHA functional class, the number and duration of hospitalizations for HF during the previous 12 months were recorded and compared at the time of referral and after a follow-up period of 6.5+/-3 months.

RESULTS:

Of the 147 patients analyzed (aged 60.8+/-13 years; 79% male; left ventricular ejection fraction 27+/-11%), 67% were in NYHA functional class III, 20% in class II and 13% in class IV at the time of referral. There was a significant improvement in functional class during the mean follow-up period: 55% of the patients were in class III, 37% in class II, 5% in class I and 3% in class IV (p<0.0001). The proportion of patients on beta-blockers or spironolactone increased from 33% and 51% at the time of referral to 69% and 71% respectively after referral (p<0.0001). In the 12 months before referral, 39% of the patients had been hospitalized for acute decompensation of HF (87 hospitalizations - mean 7.2/month) versus 13% of the patients during the mean follow-up period (25 hospitalizations - 3.8/month, p<0.0001). No significant differences were found in the proportion of patients on angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors or angiotensin II receptor blockers, digoxin or diuretics, or in the mean duration of hospitalization before and after referral.

CONCLUSION:

The specialized follow-up of patients with AHF by a team with expertise in HF resulted in significant therapeutic optimization. Increased use of beta-blockers and spironolactone was associated with significant improvement in functional capacity and significant reduction in hospitalizations.

PMID:
17695729
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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