Introduction of a new scoring tool to identify clinically stable heart failure patients

A.J. Gingele*, L. Brandts, H.P. Brunner-La Rocca, G. Cleuren, C. Knackstedt, J.J.J. Boyne

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Introduction Heart failure (HF) poses a burden on specialist care, making referral of clinically stable HF patients to primary care a desirable goal. However, a structured approach to guide patient referral is lacking. Methods The Maastricht Instability Score-Heart Failure (MIS-HF) questionnaire was developed to objectively stratify the clinical status of HF patients: patients with a low MIS-HF (0-2 points, indicating a stable clinical condition) were considered for treatment in primary care, whereas high scores (> 2 points) indicated the need for specialised care. The MIS-HF was evaluated in 637 consecutive HF patients presenting between 2015 and 2018 at Maastricht University Medical Centre. Results Of the 637 patients, 329 (52%) had a low score and 205 of these 329 (62%) patients were referred to primary care. The remaining 124 (38%) patients remained in secondary care. Of the 308 (48%) patients with a high score (> 2 points), 265 (86%) remained in secondary care and 41 (14%) were referred to primary care. The primary composite endpoint (mortality, cardiac hospital admissions) occurred more frequently in patients with a high compared to those with a low MIS-HF after 1 year of follow-up (29.2% vs 10.9%; odds ratio (OR) 3.36, 95% confidence interval (CI) 2.20-5.14). No significant difference in the composite endpoint (9.8% vs 12.9%; OR 0.73, 95% CI 0.36-1.47) was found between patients with a low MIS-HF treated in primary versus secondary care. Conclusion The MIS-HF questionnaire may improve referral policies, as it helps to identify HF patients that can safely be referred to primary care.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)402-410
Number of pages9
JournalNetherlands Heart Journal
Issue number9
Early online date5 Jan 2022
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022


  • Heart failure
  • Primary health care
  • Mortality
  • Referral
  • Consultation

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