We sought to examine associations between initiation of beta-blocker therapy and outcomes among elderly patients hospitalized for heart failure.
Beta-blockers are guideline-recommended therapy for heart failure, but their clinical effectiveness is not well-understood, especially in elderly patients.
We merged Medicare claims data with OPTIMIZE-HF records to examine long-term outcomes of eligible patients newly initiated on beta-blocker therapy. We used inverse probability-weighted Cox proportional hazards models to determine the relationships between treatment and mortality, rehospitalization, and a combined mortality–rehospitalization endpoint.
Observed 1-year mortality was 33%, and all-cause rehospitalization was 64%. Among 7154 patients hospitalized with heart failure and eligible for beta-blockers, 3421 (49%) were newly initiated on beta-blocker therapy. Among patients with left ventricular systolic dysfunction (LVSD; n = 3001), beta-blockers were associated with adjusted hazard ratios of 0.77 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.68–0.87) for mortality, 0.89 (95% CI, 0.80–0.99) for rehospitalization, and 0.87 (95% CI, 0.79–0.96) for mortality–rehospitalization. Among patients with preserved systolic function (n = 4153), beta-blockers were associated with adjusted hazard ratios of 0.94 (95% CI, 0.84–1.07) for mortality, 0.98 (95% CI, 0.90–1.06) for rehospitalization, and 0.98 (95% CI, 0.91–1.06) for mortality-rehospitalization.
In elderly patients hospitalized with heart failure and LVSD, incident beta-blocker use was clinically effective and independently associated with lower risks of death and rehospitalization. Patients with preserved systolic function had poor outcomes, and beta-blockers did not significantly influence the mortality and rehospitalization risks for these patients.
Adrenergic beta-Antagonists; Heart Failure; Mortality; Patient Readmission
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and chronic heart failure (CHF) frequently coexist in clinical practice as they share the same risk factors. The manifestations of COPD and CHF are similar. Exertional dyspnoea, easy fatigability and reduced exercise tolerance are common to COPD and CHF and required careful interpretation. Pulmonary function tests, plasma natriuretic peptides, echocardiography and cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging should be carried out to acquire the objective evidence of pulmonary and cardiac function when necessary. Robust studies indicate that patients with COPD tolerate the cardioselective β-blockers well, so it should not be denied to CHF patients with concomitant COPD. Low-dose initiation and gradual uptitration of cardioselective β-blockers is currently recommended. However, β2-agonists should be used with cautions in COPD patients with CHF, especially in acute exacerbations. Statins, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, and angiotensin-receptor blockers may reduce the morbidity and mortality of the patients with COPD.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; chronic heart failure; beta blockers
To determine the pattern of β blocker prescribing over one year in a heart failure clinic with a structured approach towards initiation and dose titration and to give a real life perspective on β blocker use, compliance, and target dose achievement.
Data were retrospectively analysed on 513 consecutive patients regularly attending a community heart failure clinic over a year. Systolic dysfunction was determined from two dimensional echocardiography (left ventricular ejection fraction ⩽ 40%) and lung function was assessed by spirometry. All patients were considered for β blocker initiation and dose up titration.
Within one year 157 patients died. 143 patients started β blockers resulting in 315 (88%) patients taking β blockers at one year; 38% were taking the target dose. 124 had evidence of airways obstruction at baseline, 100 (81%) of whom were taking β blockers at one year. Forced expiratory volume in one second (1.1 v 1.5 l, p < 0.01) and forced vital capacity (2.3 v 2.5 l/min, p = 0.2) were not reduced in patients with airways obstruction who received β blockers. Daily doses of β blockers at one year did not differ statistically between patients with obstructive and patients with non‐obstructive spirometry results. 12 patients discontinued β blockers and 14 required dose reduction due to side effects.
The majority of patients with heart failure and obstructive airways disease can safely tolerate low dose initiation and gradual up titration of β blockers.
heart failure; β blockers; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
BACKGROUND: Despite its proven efficacy, beta-blocker therapy remains underused in elderly patients after myocardial infarction (MI). The objectives of this study were to identify undertreated groups of seniors and to determine whether older and frailer patients are being selectively dispensed low-dose beta-blocker therapy. METHODS: From a comprehensive hospital discharge database, all people aged 66 years or more in Ontario who survived an acute MI between April 1993 and March 1995 were identified and classified into those who did not receive beta-blocker therapy and those dispensed low, standard or high doses of this agent. Logistic regression models were used to study the effect of age, sex, comorbidity, potential contraindications to beta-blocker therapy and residence in a long-term-care facility on the odds of not being dispensed a beta-blocker. Among beta-blocker users, the odds of being dispensed low relative to standard or high doses of this agent were evaluated. RESULTS: Of the 15,542 patients, 7549 (48.6%) were not dispensed a beta-blocker. Patients 85 years of age or more were at greater risk of not receiving beta-blocker therapy (adjusted odds ratio [OR] 2.8, 95% confidence interval [CI] 2.5-3.2) than were those 66 to 74 years. Having a Charlson comorbidity index of 3 or greater was associated with an increased risk of not receiving beta-blocker therapy (adjusted OR 1.5, 95% CI 1.3-1.8) compared with having lower comorbidity scores. Patients who resided in a long-term-care facility were at increased risk of not being prescribed beta-blocker therapy (adjusted OR 2.6, 95% CI 2.0-3.4). Among the 5453 patients with no identifiable contraindication to beta-blocker therapy, women were significantly less likely than men to receive this agent (p = 0.005). Of the 6074 patients who received beta-blockers, 2248 (37.0%) were dispensed low-dose therapy. Patients aged 85 years or more had an increased risk of being dispensed low-dose therapy (adjusted OR 1.6, 95% CI 1.3-2.0) compared with those aged 66 to 74 years. Compared with those who had the lowest comorbidity scores, patients with the highest comorbidity scores were more likely to be dispensed low-dose beta-blocker therapy (adjusted OR 1.3, 95% CI 1.0-1.8). INTERPRETATION: Almost half of Ontario patients aged 66 or more who survived an MI, particularly those who were older or frailer, did not receive beta-blocker therapy. Among those dispensed beta-blocker therapy, older and frailer patients were more frequently dispensed low-dose therapy.
Many chronic heart failure (CHF) patients take β-blockers. When such patients are hospitalized for decompensation, it remains unclear how ongoing β-blocker treatment will affect outcomes of acute inotrope therapy. We aimed to assess outcomes of SURVIVE patients who were on β-blocker therapy before receiving a single intravenous infusion of levosimendan or dobutamine.
Methods and results
Cox proportional hazard regression revealed all-cause mortality benefits of levosimendan treatment over dobutamine when the SURVIVE population was stratified according to baseline presence/absence of CHF history and use/non-use of β-blocker treatment at baseline. All-cause mortality was lower in the CHF/levosimendan group than in the CHF/dobutamine group, showing treatment differences by hazard ratio (HR) at days 5 (3.4 vs. 5.8%; HR, 0.58, CI 0.33–1.01, P = 0.05) and 14 (7.0 vs. 10.3%; HR, 0.67, CI 0.45–0.99, P = 0.045). For patients who used β-blockers (n = 669), mortality was significantly lower for levosimendan than dobutamine at day 5 (1.5 vs. 5.1% deaths; HR, 0.29; CI 0.11–0.78, P = 0.01).
Levosimendan may be better than dobutamine for treating patients with a history of CHF or those on β-blocker therapy when they are hospitalized with acute decompensations. These findings are preliminary but important for planning future studies.
Levosimendan; Dobutamine; Heart failure, congestive; Cardiac output, low; β-blockers, adrenergic
To evaluate the dose-related benefit of angiotensinconverting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor therapy among older adults with heart failure and to evaluate whether low-dose ACE inhibitor therapy is better than none.
Observational cohort study.
Community-dwelling older adults in Ontario, Canada.
We identified 16,539 adults 66 years or older who survived 45 days following their first heart failure hospitalization discharge.
MEASUREMENT AND MAIN RESULTS
Multivariate techniques including propensity scores were used to study the association between the dose of ACE inhibitor therapy dispensed and 3 outcomes: survival, survival or heart failure rehospitalization, and survival or all-cause hospitalization at 1 year of follow-up. Logistic regression models explored the association between initial dose dispensed and subsequent dose reduction or drug cess-ation. Overall, 10,793 (65.3%) of patients were dispensed ACE inhibitor therapy, with more than a third (3,935; 36.5%) initiated on low-dose therapy. Relative to dispensing of lowdose ACE inhibitor therapy, nonuse was associated with increased mortality (hazard ratio [HR], 1.12; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.02 to 1.22). Dispensing medium-dose therapy provided a benefit similar to low-dose (HR, 0.94; CI, 0.86 to 1.03) and dispensing of high-dose therapy was associated with improved survival benefit (HR, 0.76; CI, 0.68 to 0.85). Relative to dispensing of low-dose ACE inhibitor therapy, dispensing high-dose conferred a benefit (HR, 0.87; CI, 0.80 to 0.95) on the composite outcome of 1-year mortality or heart failure hospitalization and the composite outcome of 1-year mortality or all-cause hospitalization (HR, 0.87; CI, 0.81 to 0.93). Relative to those dispensed low-dose ACE inhibitor therapy, those initially dispensed high-dose therapy were twice as likely to have their subsequent dose reduced or the therapy discontinued (odds ratio, 2.36; CI, 2.07 to 2.69).
Our findings suggest that when possible, older adults should be titrated to the higher doses of ACE inhibitor therapy evaluated in clinical trials. If older adults cannot tolerate higher doses, then low-dose ACE inhibitor therapy is superior to none. High-dose ACE inhibitor therapy is not as well tolerated as lower doses.
angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors; heart failure; older adults; low dose
Treatment with specific beta-blockers reduces mortality and hospitalisation in heart failure.
To describe trends and inequities in beta-blocker prescribing for heart failure.
Design of study
Repeated cross-sectional analysis of a nationally representative primary care database (DIN-LINK).
A total of 152 UK general practices.
Prescribing of beta-blockers between 2000 and 2005 was examined among a yearly average of 7294 patients aged ≥50 years who had actively managed heart failure — defined as a recorded diagnosis of heart failure and two prescriptions of an angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor or angiotensin receptor blocker during the calendar year. The main outcome was the prescription of a guideline-recommended beta-blocker (bisoprolol, carvedilol, metoprolol, or nebivolol) in the year. Determinants of beta-blocker prescribing were analysed using logistic regression.
Between 2000 and 2005, age-adjusted use of recommended beta-blockers rose from 6.1% to 27.0% in men, and from 4.2% to 21.5% in women. In 2005, younger patients were more likely to be treated; the fully adjusted odds ratio was 4.83 (95% confidence interval = 3.78 to 6.17) for patients aged 60–64 years compared with those aged 85 years. Women and patients living in areas of socioeconomic deprivation were less likely to be treated. In 2005, in addition to treatment with guideline-recommended beta-blockers, a further 11.7% of men and 12.5% of women were prescribed other beta-blockers.
Recommended beta-blocker use has risen in the UK but remains low and inequitable, with many patients still treated with beta-blockers that are not recommended in guidelines. This suggests further improvements in prescribing are still possible.
adrenergic; beta-blockers; equity; heart failure
Beta-blockers reduce mortality among patients with systolic heart failure (HF), yet primary care provider prescription rates remain low.
To examine the association between primary care physician characteristics and both self-reported and actual prescription of beta-blockers among patients with systolic HF.
Cross-sectional survey with supplementary retrospective chart review.
Primary care providers at three New York City Veterans Affairs medical centers.
Main outcomes were: 1) self-reported prescribing of beta-blockers, and 2) actual prescribing of beta-blockers among HF patients. Physician HF practice patterns and confidence levels, as well as socio-demographic and clinical characteristics, were also assessed.
Sixty-nine of 101 physicians (68%) completed the survey examining self-reported prescribing of beta-blockers. Physicians who served as inpatient ward attendings self-reported significantly higher rates of beta-blocker prescribing among their HF patients when compared with physicians who did not attend (78% vs. 58%; p = 0.002), as did physicians who were very confident in managing HF patients when compared with physicians who were not (82% vs. 68%; p = 0.009). Fifty-one of these 69 surveyed physicians (74%) were successfully matched to 287 HF patients for whom beta-blocker prescribing data was available. Physicians with greater self-reported rates of prescribing beta-blockers were significantly more likely to actually prescribe beta-blockers (p = 0.02); however, no other physician characteristics were significantly associated with actual prescribing of beta-blockers among HF patients.
Physician teaching responsibilities and confidence levels were associated with self-reported beta-blocker prescribing among their HF patients. Educational efforts focused on improving confidence levels in HF care and increasing exposure to teaching may improve beta-blocker presciption in HF patients managed in primary care.
Use of inotropic agents in patients with heart failure (HF) has been limited by adverse effects on outcomes. However, administration of positive inotropes at lower doses and concomitant treatment with beta-blockers might increase benefit–risk ratio. We investigated the effects of low doses of the positive inotrope enoximone on symptoms, exercise capacity, and major clinical outcomes in patients with advanced HF who were also treated with beta-blockers and other guideline-recommended background therapy.
Methods and results
The Studies of Oral Enoximone Therapy in Advanced HF (ESSENTIAL) programme consisted of two identical, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials that differed only by geographic location (North and South America: ESSENTIAL-I; Europe: ESSENTIAL-II). Patients with New York Heart Association class III–IV HF symptoms, left ventricular ejection fraction ≤30%, and one hospitalization or two ambulatory visits for worsening HF in the previous year were eligible for participation in the trials. The trials had three co-primary endpoints: (i) the composite of time to all-cause mortality or cardiovascular hospitalization, analysed in the two ESSENTIAL trials combined; (ii) the 6 month change from baseline in the 6 min walk test distance (6MWTD); and (iii) the Patient Global Assessment (PGA) at 6 months, both analysed in each trial separately. ESSENTIAL-I and -II randomized 1854 subjects at 211 sites in 16 countries. In the combined trials, all-cause mortality and the composite, first co-primary endpoint did not differ between the two treatment groups [hazard ratio (HR) 0.97; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.80–1.17; and HR 0.98; 95% CI 0.86–1.12, respectively, for enoximone vs. placebo]. The two other co-primary endpoints were analysed separately in the two ESSENTIAL trials, as prospectively designed in the protocol. The 6MWTD increased with enoximone, compared with placebo, in ESSENTIAL-I (P = 0.025, not reaching, however, the pre-specified criterion for statistical significance of P < 0.020), but not in ESSENTIAL-II. No difference in PGA was observed in either trial.
Although low-dose enoximone appears to be safe in patients with advanced HF, major clinical outcomes are not improved.
Advanced heart failure; Inotropic agents; Enoximone
For more than a decade, hospitals have focused on decreasing length of stay but this focus may have had unanticipated effects on patient care.
To describe the temporal changes in length of stay, discharge disposition, and short-term outcomes among older patients hospitalized for heart failure.
Observational study of Medicare fee-for-service hospitalizations for heart failure between 1993 and 2008, with a 30-day follow-up.
Main Outcome Measures
Length of hospital stay, in-patient and 30-day mortality, and 30-day readmission rates.
Between 1993 and 2008, 7,799,788 hospitalizations were studied. Length of stay decreased from 8.8 (95% CI, 8.8–8.8) to 6.3 (95% CI, 6.3–6.3) days. In-hospital mortality decreased by half, from 8.5% (95%CI, 8.4–8.6) in 1993 to 4.2% (95%CI, 4.2–4.3%) in 2008, whereas 30-day mortality decreased by 17%, from 12.8% (95%CI, 12.8–12.9%) to 10.9% (95%CI, 10.8–10.9%). Rates of discharge to home decreased 10% (from 74.4% to 66.9%), while discharges to skilled nursing facilities increased 65%, from 13% to 21.3%. Thirty-day readmission rates increased 27%, from 17.2% (95%CI, 17.1–17.3%) relative to 21.9% (95%CI, 21.8–22.0%) (all p values <0.001). Consistent with our unadjusted analyses, 2007–2008 risk-adjusted 30-day mortality risk was 0.86 (95% CI, 0.86–0.87) when compared with 1993–1994, while the 30-day readmission risk ratio was 1.19 (95%CI, 1.18–1.21).
For patients admitted with heart failure over the past 16 years, we observed reductions in length of stay and in-hospital mortality, less marked reductions in 30-day mortality, and increases in 30-day readmission rates and use of skilled nursing facilities after discharge.
Heart failure (HF) patients with inadequate health literacy are at increased risk for poor self care and negative health outcomes such as hospital readmission. The purpose of this study was to examine prevalence of inadequate health literacy; reliability of the Dutch HF Knowledge Scale (DHFKS) and Self Care of Heart Failure Index (SCHFI); and differences in HF knowledge, HF self care, and 30-day readmission rate by health literacy level among patients hospitalized with HF. The convenience sample included adults (N=95) admitted to a large urban teaching hospital with primary diagnosis of HF. Measures included the Short Test of Functional Health Literacy in Adults, DHFKS, SCHFI, and readmission at 30 days post-discharge. The sample was 59 ± 14 years in age, 51% male, 67% African American; 35% had less than high school education, 35% were employed, 73% lived with someone who helps with their HF care, and 16% were readmitted within 30 days of index admission. Health literacy was inadequate for 42%, marginal for 19%, and adequate for 39%. Reliability of the DHFKS and SCHFI scales was comparable to prior reports. Mean knowledge score was 11.43 ± 2.26, SCHFI subscale scores were 56.82 ± 17.12 for maintenance, 63.64 ± 18.29 for management, and 65.02 ± 16.34 for confidence. Those with adequate health literacy were younger and had higher education level, HF knowledge scores, and HF self care confidence compared to those with marginal or inadequate health literacy. Self care maintenance and management scores and 30-day readmission rate did not differ by health literacy level. These findings demonstrate the high prevalence of inadequate and marginal health literacy and that health literacy is an important consideration in promoting HF knowledge and confidence in self care behaviors, particularly among older adults and those with less than high school education.
heart failure; self care; knowledge; health literacy
About one-quarter of rehospitalized Medicare patients are admitted to hospitals different from their original. The extent to which this practice is related to for-profit hospital status, and impacts payments and mortality, is unknown.
To describe and examine predictors of and payments for rehospitalization to a different hospital within 30 days among Medicare beneficiaries in for-profit and in not-for-profit/public hospitals.
Retrospective cohort study.
Medicare fee-for-service hospitals throughout the United States.
Random 5% national sample of Medicare beneficiaries with acute-care rehospitalizations within 30-days of discharge, 2005–2006 (N=74,564).
30-day rehospitalizations to different hospitals; total payments/mortality over subsequent 30-days. Multivariate logistic and quantile regression models included index hospital for-profit status, discharge counts, geographic region, rural-urban commuting area, and teaching status; and patient sociodemographics, disabled status, comorbidities, and a measure of risk-adjustment.
22% (16,622) of the sample was rehospitalized to a different hospital. Factors associated with increased risk for rehospitalization to a different hospital included being hospitalized within a for-profit, major medical school-affiliated, or low volume index hospital, and having a Medicare-defined disability. When compared to those rehospitalized to the same hospital, patients rehospitalized to different hospitals had significantly higher adjusted 30-day total payments (median additional $1,308/patient, p-value<0.001), but no significant differences in 30-day mortality, regardless of index hospital for-profit status.
The analysis lacked detailed clinical data, and did not assess specific provider practice motivations or the role of patient choice.
Rehospitalizations to different hospitals are common among Medicare beneficiaries, more likely among those initially hospitalized at a for-profit hospital, and related to increased overall payments without improved mortality.
β-Blockers (metoprolol, bisoprolol, and carvedilol) are a cornerstone of heart failure (HF) treatment. However, it is well recognized that responses to a β-blocker are variable among patients with HF. Numerous studies now suggest that genetic polymorphisms may contribute to variability in responses to a β-blocker, including left ventricular ejection fraction improvement, survival, and hospitalization due to HF exacerbation. This review summarizes the pharmacogenetic data for β-blockers in patients with HF and discusses the potential implications of β-blocker pharmacogenetics for HF patients.
Pharmacogenetics; β-Blockers; Heart failure; Metoprolol; ADRB1; ADRB2
Data supporting the use of oral isosorbide dinitrate and/or hydralazine (I/H) as add-on therapy to standard neurohormonal antagonists in advanced decompensated heart failure (ADHF) are limited, especially in the non–African-American population. Our objective was to determine if addition of I/H to standard neurohormonal blockade in patients discharged from the hospital with ADHF is associated with improved hemodynamic profiles and improved clinical outcomes. We reviewed consecutive patients with ADHF admitted from 2003 to 2006 with a cardiac index <2.2 L/min/m2 admitted for intensive medical therapy. Patients discharged with angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors and/or angiotensin receptor blockers (control group) were compared with those receiving angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors/angiotensin receptor blockers plus I/H (I/H group). The control (n = 97) and I/H (n = 142) groups had similar demographic characteristics, baseline blood pressure, and renal function. Patients in the I/H group had a significantly higher estimated systemic vascular resistance (1,660 vs 1,452 dynes/cm5, p <0.001) and a lower cardiac index (1.7 vs 1.9 L/min/m2, p <0.001) on admission. The I/H group achieved a similar decrease in intracardiac filling pressures and discharge blood pressures as controls, but had greater improvement in cardiac index and systemic vascular resistance. Use of I/H was associated with a lower rate of all-cause mortality (34% vs 41%, odds ratio 0.65, 95% confidence interval 0.43 to 0.99, p = 0.04) and all-cause mortality/heart failure rehospitalization (70% vs 85%, odds ratio 0.72, 95% confidence interval 0.54 to 0.97, p = 0.03), irrespective of race. In conclusion, the addition of I/H to neurohormonal blockade is associated with a more favorable hemodynamic profile and long-term clinical outcomes in patients discharged with low-output ADHF regardless of race.
The prognostic benefits of beta-blockers (BB) in patients with systolic heart failure (SHF) are known but despite this, in patients with diabetes they are underutilized. The aim of this study was to assess the effect of beta-blockers (BB) on glycaemic control in patients with Type 2 Diabetes (T2DM) and systolic heart failure (SHF) stratified to beta-1 selective (Bisoprolol) vs. nonselective BB (Carvedilol).
This observational, cohort study was conducted in patients with T2DM and SHF attending an Australian tertiary teaching hospital's heart failure services. The primary endpoint was glycaemic control measured by glycosylated haemoglobin (HbA1c) at initiation and top dose of BB. Secondary endpoints included microalbuminuria, changes in lipid profile and estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR).
125 patients were assessed. Both groups were well matched for gender, NYHA class and use of guideline validated heart failure and diabetic medications. The mean treatment duration was 1.9 ± 1.1 years with carvedilol and 1.4 ± 1.0 years with bisoprolol (p = ns). The carvedilol group achieved a reduction in HbA1c (7.8 ± 0.21% to 7.3 ± 0.17%, p = 0.02) whereas the bisoprolol group showed no change in HbA1c (7.0 ± 0.20% to 6.9 ± 0.23%, p = 0.92). There was no significant difference in the change in HbA1c from baseline to peak BB dose in the carvedilol group compared to the bisoprolol group. There was a similar deterioration in eGFR, but no significant changes in lipid profile or microalbuminuria in both groups (p = ns).
BB use did not worsen glycaemic control, lipid profile or albuminuria status in subjects with SHF and T2DM. Carvedilol significantly improved glycemic control in subjects with SHF and T2DM and this improvement was non significantly better than that obtained with bisoprolol. BB's should not be withheld from patients with T2DM and SHF.
Beta-blockers; Diabetes; Systolic heart failure; Glycaemic control
Poor levels of medication adherence for patients with coronary heart disease (CHD) have been documented but it is unclear whether adherence has improved over time.
We assembled a retrospective cohort of lower-income Medicare beneficiaries who were discharged from the hospital after their first acute myocardial infarction (MI) between 1 January 1995 and 31 December 2003. For patients prescribed a statin, ACEI/ARB, beta-blocker, and all 3 of these medications after the hospital discharge, we evaluated medication adherence by determining the proportion of days covered (PDC) for each medication in the subsequent year.
Our cohort consisted of a total of 33 646 patients. Adherence rates for statins and beta-blockers, but not ACEI/ARB, increased significantly over time but remained suboptimal. For example, among those patients that received a statin after discharge, 38.6% were fully adherent with therapy in 1995 in contrast to 56.2% in 2003 (p value for trend <0.001). Of patients prescribed all 3 of statin, beta-blocker, and ACEI/ARB, 29.1% and 46.4% were fully adherent in 1995 and 2003, respectively (p value for trend <0.001).
Our analysis demonstrates statistically significant but modest improvements in medication adherence for statins and beta-blockers, but not ACEI/ARBs, among patients discharged from hospital after acute MI. Despite these improvements, rates of non-adherence to these highly effective therapies remain extremely high. Given the health and economic consequences of non-adherence, the development of cost-effective strategies to improve medication adherence should be a clear priority.
adherence; myocardial infarction; preventice therapy; drug utilization
Unplanned hospital readmissions are common, expensive and often preventable. Strategies designed to reduce readmissions should target patients at high risk. The purpose of this study was to describe medical patients identified using a recently published and validated algorithm (the LACE index) as being at high risk for readmission and to examine their actual hospital readmission rates.
We used population-based administrative data to identify adult medical patients discharged alive from 6 hospitals in Toronto, Canada, during 2007. A LACE index score of 10 or higher was used to identify patients at high risk for readmission. We described patient and hospitalization characteristics among both the high-risk and low-risk groups as well as the 30-day readmission rates.
Of 26 045 patients, 12.6% were readmitted to hospital within 30 days and 20.9% were readmitted within 90 days of discharge. High-risk patients (LACE ≥ 10) accounted for 34.0% of the sample but 51.7% of the patients who were readmitted within 30 days. High-risk patients were readmitted with twice the frequency as other patients, had longer lengths of stay and were more likely to die during the readmission.
Using a LACE index score of 10, we identified patients with a high rate of readmission who may benefit from improved post-discharge care. Our findings suggest that the LACE index is a potentially useful tool for decision-makers interested in identifying appropriate patients for post-discharge interventions.
To study the effects of Beta-blockers during Dobutamine Stress Echocardiography (DSE) comparing the hemodynamic benefits of an early administration of atropine in patients taking or not Beta-blockers.
One hundred and twenty-one patients were submitted to dobutamine stress echocardiography for the investigation of myocardial ischemia. The administration of atropine was randomized into two groups: A or B (early protocol when atropine was administered at 10 and 20 mcg/kg/min of dobutamine, respectively) and C (standard protocol with atropine at 40 mcg/kg/min of dobutamine). Analysis of the effects of Beta-blockers was done regarding the behavior pattern of heart rate and blood pressure, test time, number of conclusive and inconclusive (negative sub-maximum test) results, total doses of atropine and dobutamine, and general complications.
Beta-blocked patients who received early atropine (Group A&B) had a significantly lower double product (p = 0.008), a higher mean test time (p = 0.010) and required a higher dose of atropine (p = 0.0005) when compared to the patients in this group who were not Beta-blocked. The same findings occurred in the standard protocol (Group C), however the early administration of atropine reduced test time both in the presence and absence of this therapy (p = 0.0001). The patients with Beta-blockers in Group A&B had a lower rate of inconclusive tests (26%) compared to those in Group C (40%). Complications were similar in both groups.
The chronotropic response during dobutamine stress echocardiography was significantly reduced with the use of Beta-blockers. The early administration of atropine optimized the hemodynamic response, reduced test time in patients with or without Beta-blockers and reduced the number of inconclusive tests in the early protocol.
B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) has been associated with short- and long-term post-discharge prognosis among hospitalized heart failure (HF) patients. It is unknown if admission, discharge, or change from admission to discharge BNP measure is the most important predictor of long-term outcomes.
Methods and Results
We linked patients ≥65 years from hospitals in OPTIMIZE-HF to Medicare claims. Among patients with recorded admission and discharge BNP, we compared Cox models predicting 1-year mortality and/or rehospitalization, including clinical variables and clinical variables plus BNP. We calculated the net reclassification improvement (NRI) and integrated discrimination improvement (IDI) for the best-fit model for each outcome versus the model with clinical variables alone. Among 7039 patients in 220 hospitals, median (25th, 75th) admission and discharge BNP were 832 pg/mL (451, 1660) and 534 pg/mL (281, 1111). Observed 1-year mortality and 1-year mortality or rehospitalization rates were 35.2% and 79.4%. The discharge BNP model had the best performance and was the most important characteristic for predicting 1-year mortality (hazard ratio [HR] for log transformation 1.34; 95% CI 1.28–1.40) and 1-year death or rehospitalization (HR 1.15; 95% CI 1.12–1.18). Compared with a clinical variables only model, the discharge BNP model improved risk reclassification and discrimination in predicting each outcome (1-year mortality: NRI 5.5%, P<0.0001; IDI 0.023, P<0.0001; 1-year mortality or rehospitalization: NRI 4.2%, P<0.0001; IDI 0.010, P<0.0001).
Discharge BNP best predicts 1-year mortality and/or rehospitalization among older patients hospitalized with HF. Discharge BNP plus clinical variables modestly improves risk classification and model discrimination for long-term outcomes.
B-type natriuretic peptide; outcomes; OPTIMIZE-HF; risk stratification
Beta-blockers have been shown to improve survival in patients with chronic heart failure. The effect of different generations of beta blockers has been debated. Both metoprolol and carvedilol have demonstrated beneficial effects in placebo-controlled trials. In The Carvedilol Or Metoprolol European Trial (COMET) two beta blockers were compared in a double-blind randomized matter. This is the first direct comparison between metoprolol and carvedilol of long-term effect on survival in patients with chronic heart failure. The all-cause mortality was signif icantly reduced in the favour of carvedilol. The dose and formulation of metoprolol used in this trial has caused debate, and it has been questioned whether a similar beta1-blockade is obtained in the two intervention groups. At this time there is an unresolved debate as to whether carvedilol is a superior beta-blocker or whether differences in beta1-blockade explained the results of COMET.
beta-blockers; chronic heart failure; carvedilol
Like aldosterone escape to ACE-inhibitors, adrenergic escape (AE) to β-blockers appears conceivable in chronic heart failure (CHF), as generalized systemic neurohumoral activation has been described as the pathophysiological basis of this syndrome. The aim of this study was to examine the prevalence and prognostic value of AE with respect to different β-blocker agents and doses.
Methods and results
This was a prospective, observational study of 415 patients with systolic CHF receiving chronic stable β-blocker therapy. AE was defined by norepinephrine levels above the upper limit of normal. Irrespective of the individual β-blocker agents used and the dose equivalent taken, the prevalence of AE was 31–39%. Norepinephrine levels neither correlated with heart rate (r = 0.02; 95% CI: −0.08–0.11; P = 0.74) nor were they related to underlying rhythm (P = 0.09) or the individual β-blocker agent used (P = 0.87). The presence of AE was a strong and independent indicator of mortality (adjusted HR: 1.915; 95% CI: 1.387–2.645; χ2: 15.60).
We verified the presence of AE in CHF patients on chronic stable β-blocker therapy, irrespective of the individual β-blocker agent and the dose equivalent. As AE might indicate therapeutic failure, the determination of AE could help to identify those patients with CHF that might benefit from more aggressive treatment modalities. Heart rate, however, is not a surrogate for adrenergic escape.
Adrenergic escape; β-Blocker; Chronic heart failure; Prognosis
Objective—To determine whether a third generation vasodilating β blocker (celiprolol) has long term clinical advantages over metoprolol in patients with chronic heart failure.
Design—A double blind placebo controlled randomised trial.
Setting—University teaching Hospital.
Patients—50 patients with stable chronic heart failure (NYHA class II-IV) due to idiopathic dilated, ischaemic, or hypertensive cardiomyopathy, with left ventricular ejection fraction < 0.45.
Interventions—Celiprolol 200 mg daily (n = 21), metoprolol 50 mg twice daily (n = 19), or placebo (n = 10) for three months with a four week dose titration period. After the double blind period, patients entered an open label study (with placebo group receiving β blockers) and were assessed after one year.
Main outcome measures—Clinical response, efficacy, and tolerance were assessed by the Minnesota heart failure symptom questionnaire, six minute walk test, Doppler echocardiography (systolic and diastolic function), radionuclide ventriculography, and atrial and brain natriuretic peptides measured at baseline and after three months.
Results—In the metoprolol group at 12 weeks v baseline there was a 47% reduction in symptom score (p < 0.001), improvement of NYHA class (mean (SEM), 2.6 (0.12) to 1.9 (0.13), p = 0.001), exercise distance (1246 (54) to 1402 (52) feet, p < 0.001), and left ventricular ejection fraction (26.9(3.1)% to 31(3.0)%, p = 0.016), and a fall in heart rate (resting, 79 (3) to 62 (3) beats/min, p < 0.001). In the celiprolol group there was a 38% reduction in symptom score (p = 0.02), less improvement in exercise distance (1191 (55) to 1256 (61) feet, p = 0.05), and no significant changes in NYHA class, left ventricular ejection fraction, or heart rate. Mortality at one year was 11% in metoprolol and 19% in the celiprolol group, and symptomatic improvement was maintained in the survivors.
Conclusions—Both drugs were well tolerated but the vasodilator properties of celiprolol do not seem to provide any obvious additional benefit in the long term treatment of heart failure.
Keywords: β blockers; heart failure; metoprolol; celiprolol
Hospitalists improve efficiency, but little information exists regarding whether they impact quality of care.
To determine hospitalists’ effect on the quality of acute congestive heart failure care.
Design and Participants
Using data from the Multicenter Hospitalist Study, we retrospectively evaluated quality of care in patients admitted with congestive heart failure who were assigned to hospitalists (n = 120) or non-hospitalists (n = 252) among six academic hospitals.
Quality measures included the percentage of patients who had ejection fraction (EF) measurement, received appropriate medications [i.e., angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor (ACE-I) or beta-blockers] at discharge, measures of care coordination (e.g., follow-up within 30 days), testing for cardiac ischemia (e.g., cardiac catheterization), as well as hospital length of stay, cost, and combined 30-day readmissions and mortality.
Compared to non-hospitalist physicians, hospitalists’ patients had similar rates of EF measurement (85.3% vs. 87.5%; P = 0.57), ACE-I (91.5% vs. 88.0%; P = 0.52), or beta-blocker (46.9% vs. 42.1%; P = 0.57) prescriptions. Multivariable adjustment did not change these findings. Hospitalists’ patients had higher odds of 30-day follow-up (adjusted OR = 1.83, 95% CI, 1.44 – 2.93). There were no significant differences between the groups’ frequency of cardiac testing, length of stay, costs, or risk for readmission or death by 30-days.
Academic hospitalists and non-hospitalists provide similar quality of care for heart failure patients, although hospitalists are paying more attention to longitudinal care. Future efforts to improve quality of care in decompensated heart failure may require attention towards system-level factors.
health services research; congestive heart failure; quality of care; hospital medicine; hospitalists
Patients with diabetes frequently are hospitalized, and quality of inpatient care for diabetes is of great concern. Rehospitalization after hospital discharge is a frequent adverse outcome experienced by patients with diabetes.
We assessed the frequency of and risk factors for rehospitalization among all Philadelphia residents with diabetes.
Individual histories of hospitalization were ascertained from hospital discharge summaries for Philadelphia residents ages 25–84 who had at least 1 diabetes hospitalization from 1994 through 2001. Logistic regression was used to assess predictors of nonelective rehospitalization within 30 days of discharge, including recording of diabetes diagnosis.
Nonelective rehospitalizations within 30 days of hospital discharge were ascertained for 58,308 (20.0%) of 291,752 discharges. The proportion rehospitalized was 9.4% after a patient’s first diabetes diagnosis hospitalization; after later discharges for which a diabetes diagnosis was not recorded, rehospitalizations occurred in 30.6% of all cases. The absence of a diabetes diagnosis was a highly significant predictor of rehospitalization after adjustment for age, year, gender, race/ethnicity, insurance status, admission type, severity code, length of stay, discharge status, and number of previous hospitalizations.
Failure to record a diabetes diagnoses in administrative hospital discharge data may reflect lack of attention to the critical needs of patients with diabetes who are being treated for other conditions, whereas the attention to patient education and follow-up planning for patients with incident diabetes diagnoses may reduce the risk of rehospitalization.
administrative data; diabetes; diagnosis; readmissions
Bucindolol is a non-selective β-adrenergic receptor blocker with α-1 blocker properties and mild intrinsic sympatholytic activity. The Beta-Blocker Evaluation of Survival Trial (BEST), which is the largest clinical trial of bucindolol in patients with heart failure, was terminated prematurely and failed to show an overall mortality benefit. However, benefits on cardiac mortality and re-hospitalization rates were observed in the BEST trial. Bucindolol has not shown benefits in African Americans, those with significantly low ejection fraction and those in NYHA class IV heart failure. These observations could be due to the exaggerated sympatholytic response to bucindolol in these sub-groups that may be mediated by genetic polymorphisms or changes in gene regulation due to advanced heart failure. This paper provides a timely clinical update on the use of bucindolol in chronic heart failure.
bucindolol; chronic heart failure; beta-blocker; therapy