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Schweiz Med Wochenschr. 1993 Jan 30;123(4):108-12.

[Inadequate treatment compliance, patient information and drug prescription as causes for emergency hospitalization of patients with chronic heart failure].

[Article in German]

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Stadtspital Triemli, Departement Kardiologie, Z├╝rich.


Causes of decompensation of treated chronic congestive heart failure in patients referred for emergency hospitalization were examined prospectively. 111 consecutive patients (76 +/- 11 years) were interviewed and their records examined on admission. The diagnosed underlying diseases were coronary artery disease (80%), hypertensive heart disease (40%), valvular heart disease (11%), and idiopathic dilated (7%) and alcoholic (5%) cardiomyopathy. The grounds for decompensation of chronic congestive heart failure were: insufficient compliance 47% (n = 52, irregular or not intake of medication [25%], salt [9%] or fluid [7%] excess, stopping medication because of side effects [6%]), uncontrolled hypertension (27%), insufficient diuretic therapy in spite of progressive symptoms (23%), treatment with negative inotropic drugs (21%), acute rhythm disturbances (14%), acute myocardial infarction or unstable angina pectoris (14%), infections (6%). 80% of the patients were treated with diuretics, 34% with digoxin, 31% with ACE-inhibitors. Insufficient basic knowledge about the disease (regular weighing, diet, behavior if symptoms worsen) was found in 78% of patients, complete lack of knowledge concerning the prescribed drugs in 29%. Only 44% were regularly followed by their physicians, 53% had either no regular follow-ups or they were set at too long intervals.


In the majority of patients, one or more avoidable causes leading to decompensation of chronic congestive heart failure can be identified. The main potential for intervention aiming at a reduction of the hospitalization frequency lies in improving patient compliance and state of the art medication by the primary care physician. Equally unsatisfactory is the low frequency of follow-up checks to reassess and renew drug therapy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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