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G Ital Cardiol. 1998 Oct;28(10):1106-12.

[Outpatient management program of patients with chronic heart failure].

[Article in Italian]

Author information

1
Servizio Centrale di Cardiologia, Ospedale San Camillo, Roma.

Abstract

Hospitalization of patients with heart failure is often caused by poor adherence to drug therapy, by suboptimal utilization of ACE inhibitors and beta-blockers, and by the lack of systematic monitoring of patients after discharge. The aim of the study is to verify the impact of an outpatient management program on the hospitalization rate and functional status of patients with chronic heart failure. Over a five-year period, 435 patients entered our outpatient management program, which includes adjustment in medical therapy, patient education and visits timed according to the patient's status. Fifty-six percent of the patients were in New York Heart functional class I-II; 74% were male; mean age was 62 +/- 11 years. Heart failure was due to coronary heart disease in 42%, dilated cardiomyopathy in 35%, hypertensive heart disease in 13%, other etiologies in 10%. The following changes in medical therapy were made compared to the period before referral: ACE inhibitors in 88% of the patients vs 70% (p < 0.05), mean dose of enalapril and captopril respectively 18 +/- 6 mg vs 11 +/- 4 mg (p < 0.05) and 89 +/- 28 mg vs 61 +/- 34 mg (p < 0.05); digoxin in 71 vs 70% (NS); furosemide in 90 vs 87%; beta-blockers in 16 vs 6% (p < 0.05); amiodarone in 24 vs 16% (p < 0.05); oral anticoagulants in 22 vs 12% (p < 0.05); calcium channel blockers in 10 vs 16% (p < 0.05). During the follow-up period (35 +/- 11 months), there were 111 hospital admissions compared to 518 during the year before recruitment (p < 0.05). Seventy-two patients died (65 for cardiac causes) and four patients underwent cardiac transplantation. Functional status improved (301 patients in I-II functional class and 56 in III-IV after referral compared to 225 and 132 before referral, respectively). Our results were obtained through adjustment in pharmacological therapy, intensive patient education and therapeutic continuity made possible by our outpatient heart-failure clinic organization. It is likely that the increase in costs due to therapeutic adjustment and to the increase in the number of visits is counterbalanced by the reduced rate of hospital admissions.

PMID:
9834862
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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