Heart failure medication dosage and survival in women and men seen at outpatient clinics

Sophie Heleen Bots, N. Charlotte Onland-Moret, Igor I. Tulevski, Pim Van Der Harst, Maarten J.M. Cramer, Folkert W. Asselbergs, G. Aernout Somsen, Hester M. Den Ruijter*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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OBJECTIVE: Women with heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF) may reach optimal treatment effect at half of the guideline-recommended medication dose. This study investigates prescription practice and its relation with survival of patients with HF in daily care.

METHODS: Electronic health record data from 13 Dutch outpatient cardiology clinics were extracted for HF receiving at least one guideline-recommended HF medication. Dose changes over consecutive prescriptions were modelled using natural cubic splines. Inverse probability-weighted Cox regression was used to assess the relationship between dose (reference≥50% target dose) and all-cause mortality.

RESULTS: The study population comprised 561 women (29% HFrEF (ejection fraction (EF)<40%), 49% heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (EF≥50%); HFpEF and 615 men (47% and 25%, respectively). During a median follow-up of 3.7 years, 252 patients died (48% women; 167 HFrEF, 84 HFpEF). Nine hundred thirty-four patients (46% women) received ACE inhibitors (ACEIs) or angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs), 795 (48% women) beta blockers and 178 (42% women) mineralocorticoid receptor antagonists (MRAs). In both sexes, the mean target dose across prescriptions was 50% for ACEI/ARBs and beta blockers, and 100% for MRAs. ACEI/ARB dose of <50% was associated with lower mortality in women but not in men with HFrEF. This was not seen in patients with HFpEF. Beta-blocker dose was not associated with all-cause mortality.

CONCLUSION: Patients with HF seen in outpatient cardiology clinics receive half of the guideline-recommended medication dose. Lower ACEI/ARB dose was associated with improved survival in women with HFrEF. These results underscore the importance of (re)defining optimal medical therapy for women with HFrEF.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1748-1755
Number of pages8
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2021


  • electronic health records
  • epidemiology
  • heart failure


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