AIMS: To assess awareness of heart failure (HF) management recommendations in Europe among cardiologists (C), internists and geriatricians (I/G), and primary care physicians (PCPs). METHODS AND RESULTS: The Study group on HF Awareness and Perception in Europe (SHAPE) surveyed randomly selected C (2041), I/G (1881), and PCP (2965) in France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Spain, Sweden, and the UK. Each physician completed a 32-item questionnaire about the diagnosis and treatment of HF (left ventricular ejection fraction <40%). This report provides an analysis of HF awareness among C, I/G, and PCP. Seventy-one per cent I/G and 92% C use echocardiography, and 43% I/G and 82% C use echo-Doppler as a routine diagnostic test (both P < 0.0001). In contrast, 75% PCP use signs and symptoms to diagnose HF. Fewer I/G would use an angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE)-inhibitor in >90% of their patients (64 vs. 82% C, P < 0.0001), whereas only 47% PCP would routinely prescribe an ACE-inhibitor. Worsening HF was considered a risk of ACE-inhibitor therapy by 35% PCP. I/G and PCP consistently do not prescribe target ACE-inhibitor doses (P < 0.0001 vs. C). Only 39% I/G would use a beta-blocker in >50% of their patients (vs. 73% C, P < 0.0001). Also, only 5% PCP would always, and 35% often, prescribe a beta-blocker and reach target doses in only 7-29%. Moreover, 34% PCP and 26% I/G vs. 11% C (P < 0.0001) do not start a beta-blocker in patients with mild HF, who are already on an ACE-inhibitor and are on diuretic. In mild, stable HF, 39% PCP and 18% I/G would only prescribe diuretics, vs. 7% C (P < 0.0001). In patients with worsening HF in sinus rhythm and on an optimal ACE-inhibitor, beta-blockade and diuretics, significantly more C would add spironolactone, but I/G would more often add digoxin. CONCLUSION: Although each physician group lacks complete adherence to guideline-recommended management strategies, these are used significantly less well by I, G, and PCPs, indicating the need for education of these essential healthcare providers.

Original publication

DOI

10.1093/eurheartj/ehn196

Type

Journal article

Journal

Eur Heart J

Publication Date

07/2008

Volume

29

Pages

1739 - 1752

Keywords

Adrenergic beta-Antagonists, Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors, Attitude of Health Personnel, Chronic Disease, Clinical Competence, Diagnostic Techniques, Cardiovascular, Drug Utilization, Europe, Guideline Adherence, Health Care Surveys, Heart Failure, Humans, Medicine, Practice Guidelines as Topic, Primary Health Care, Specialization