Heart failure in primary care with special emphasis on costs and benefits of a disease management programme

Detta är en avhandling från Linköping : Linköping University Electronic Press

Sammanfattning: Background and aim. Heart failure (HF) is a common condition associated with poor quality of life (QoL), high morbidity and mortality and is frequently occurring in primary health care (PHC). It involves a substantial economic burden on the health care expenditure. There are modern pharmacological treatments with evident impact on QoL, morbidity, mortality, and proved to be cost-effective. Despite this knowledge, the treatment of HF is considered somewhat insufficient. There are several HF management programmes (HFMP) showing beneficial effects but these studies is predominantly based in hospital care (HC).The first aim of this thesis was to describe patients with HF in the PHC regarding gender differences, diagnosis, treatment and health related costs (I, II).The second aim was to evaluate whether HFMP have beneficial effects in the PHC regarding cardiac function, quality of life, health care utilization and health care-related costs (III,IV).Methods. The initial study involved retrospective collection of data from 256 patients with symptomatic HF in PHC (I). The data collected were gender, age, diagnostics and ongoing treatment. The second study was an economic calculation performed on 115 patients (II). The economic data was retrospectively retrieved as the number of hospital days, visits to nurses and physicians in HC and PHC, prescribed cardiovascular drugs and performed investigation during retrospectively for one year. The third and fourth study was based on a randomized, prospective, open-label study which was subsequently performed (III,IV). The study enrolled 160 patients with systolic HF who were randomized to either an intervention or a control group. The patients in the intervention group retrieved follow-up of HF qualified nurses and physicians in the PHC, involving education about HF and furthermore, optimizing the treatment according to guidelines if possible. The patients in the control group had a followup performed by their regular general practitioner (GP) receiving customary management according to local routines but there was no contact with HF nurses. The primary endpoint of the study was a composite endpoint consisting of changes in survival, hospitalization, heart function and quality of life (QoL) and to compare differences in resource utilization and costs (III,IV).Results. In the first study, the prevalence was 2% and the average age was 78 years (I). The most frequent cause of HF was IHD followed o hypertension. The diagnosis in the study population was based on clinical criteria and only 31% had been subjected to echocardiography. The most common treatment was diuretics (84%) and angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEI) were used in 56% of patients. In the following prospective study, the intervention group had significant improvements in composite endpoints. There were in the intervention group more patients with reduced levels of NTproBNP (p=0.012) and improved cardiac function (p=0.03). No significant changes were found in New York Heart Association (NYHA) functional class or QoL. The intervention involved less health care contacts (p=0.04), less emergency ward visits (p=0.002) and hospitalizations (p=0.03). The total cost for HC and PHC was EUR 4471 in the intervention group and EUR 6638 in the control group which implies a cost reduction of EUR 2167 (33%).Conclusions. HF is common in PHC with a prevalence of 2% the study population had an average age of 78 years. Only 31 % of the HF patients have performed an echocardiographic investigation. Treatment with ACEI occurred in 56 %. Differences were found between genders since women had performed significantly fewer echocardiographic investigations and, had less treatment with ACEI. When implementing HFMP in PHC, beneficial effects were found regarding cardiac function and health care-related costs in patients with systolic HF. These findings indicate that HFMP might be used even in PHC.