Current treatment of chronic heart failure in primary care; still room for improvement

Marije Bosch*, Michel Wensing, J. Carel Bakx, Trudy van der Weijden, Arno W. Hoes, Richard P. T. M. Grol

*Corresponding author for this work

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Rational and aims In recent years, guidelines for treatment of patients with chronic heart failure (CHF) have been updated. Insight in current pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatment of CHF in primary care, which was non-optimal in earlier studies, is limited. We aim to describe current pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatment of CHF in primary care. Methods In this cross-sectional observational study, we included a representative sample of 357 patients diagnosed with CHF from 42 primary care practices in the Netherlands. We combined medical record data with data from patient and doctor questionnaires. Results Mean age of patients was 75.7 years (SD 10.2), 53% were male, and 73% of patients had mild heart failure (New York Heart Association class I or II). 76.5% of patients received diuretics. Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors were prescribed in 40.6% and angiotensin-II receptor blockers in 20.7%; beta-blockers were prescribed to 54.6%, while 24.9% received spironolactone. Patients with more severe heart failure had a lower probability of being treated according to guideline recommendations. Relevant lifestyle advice was given to 40-60% of the patients, depending on the specific lifestyle advice. Conclusions Implementation of evidence-based pharmacotherapy for heart failure in primary care has improved since clinical guidelines have been updated; especially with respect to prescription of beta-blockers. However, there still seems ample room for improvement, as in the case for providing lifestyle advice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)644-650
JournalJournal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2010


  • heart failure
  • primary health care
  • quality of health care
  • treatment

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