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Am J Cardiol. 2010 Jan 15;105(2):255-60. doi: 10.1016/j.amjcard.2009.08.681.

Adherence to guideline-recommended adjunctive heart failure therapies among outpatient cardiology practices (findings from IMPROVE HF).

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Baylor Heart and Vascular Institute, Baylor University Medical Center, Dallas, Texas, USA.


Although previous studies have documented adherence with certain established heart failure (HF) quality metrics in outpatient cardiology practices, the extent to which there is conformity with other evidence-based, guideline-driven quality metrics in outpatients with HF is unknown. IMPROVE HF is a prospective cohort study designed to characterize the current management of patients with chronic HF and left ventricular ejection fraction <or=35% in outpatient cardiology practices. We evaluated baseline data for conformity with adjunctive HF therapies including pneumococcal vaccinization, hydralazine/isosorbide dinitrate (HYD/ISDN) for Black patients, statin therapy, antiplatelet therapy, smoking-cessation counseling, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels (<100 mg/dl), and systolic blood pressure decrease (all patients <140 mm Hg or [optimal] <130 mm Hg). Baseline data were available for 15,381 patients attending 167 cardiology practices. Patient characteristics included a median age 70 years, 71.0% men, 9.1% Black patients, 65.2% with ischemic HF cause, and 61.7% with a history of hypertension. Mean adherences or documentations of adherence were only 7.3% for HYD/ISDN and 1.0% for pneumococcal vaccination. Adherence to other adjunctive therapies ranged from 27.4% to 82.0% but none of the adjunctive treatment interventions were associated with high levels of adherence. Conformity with guideline-recommended, adjunctive HF therapies is deficient in the management of outpatients with HF. Critical gaps in documentation or delivery of care exist, especially for the use of pneumococcal vaccination and HYD/ISDN. In conclusion, improved processes of care, better documentation, and/or increased measures to promote adherence to all primary and adjunctive therapies for HF are needed.

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