Acute heart failure admissions in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory: The NSW HF snapshot study

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Medical Journal of Australia, 2016, 204 (3), pp. 113.e1 - 113.e8
Issue Date:
2016-02-15
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© 2016 AMPCo Pty Ltd. The primary aim of the NSW Heart Failure (HF) Snapshot was to obtain a representative cross-sectional view of patients with acute HF and their management in New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory hospitals Design and setting: A prospective audit of consecutive patients admitted to 24 participating hospitals in NSW and the ACT with a diagnosis of acute HF was conducted from 8 July 2013 to 8 August 2013. Results: A total of 811 participants were recruited (mean age, 77 13 years; 58% were men; 42% had a left ventricular ejection fraction 50%). The median Charlson Comorbidity Index score was 3, with is chaemic heart disease (56%), renal disease (55%), diabetes (38%) and chronic lung disease (32%) the most frequent comorbidities; 71% of patients were assessed as frail. Inter-current infection (22%), non-adherence to prescribed medication (5%) or to dietary or fluid restrictions (16%), and atrial fibrillation/flutter (15%) were the most commonly identified precipitants of HF. Initial treatment included intravenous diuretics (81%), oxygen therapy (87%), and bimodal positive airways pressure or continuous positive airways pressure ventilation (17%). During the index admission, 6% of patients died. The median length of stay in hospital was 6 days, but ranged between 3 and 12 days at different hospitals. Just over half the patients (59%) were referred to a multidisciplinary HF service. Discharge medications included angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors/angiotensin receptor blockers (59%), ß-blockers (66%) and loop diuretics (88%). Conclusions: Patients admitted to hospital with acute HF in NSW and the ACT were generally elderly and frail, with multiple comorbidities. Evidence-based therapies were underused, and there was substantial inter-hospital variation in the length of stay. We anticipate that the results of the HF Snapshot will inform the development of strategies for improving the uptake of evidence-based therapies, and hence outcomes, for HF patients.
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