Temporal trends in heart failure medication prescription in a population-based cohort study

Alicia Uijl, Ilonca Vaartjes, S Denaxas, Harry Hemingway, Anoop Shah, J Cleland, Diederick Grobbee, Arno Hoes, Folkert W Asselbergs, Stefan Koudstaal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


OBJECTIVE: We examined temporal heart failure (HF) prescription patterns in a large representative sample of real-world patients in the UK, using electronic health records (EHR).

METHODS: From primary and secondary care EHR, we identified 85 732 patients with a HF diagnosis between 2002 and 2015. Almost 50% of patients with HF were women and the median age was 79.1 (IQR 70.2-85.7) years, with age at diagnosis increasing over time.

RESULTS: We found several trends in pharmacological HF management, including increased beta blocker prescriptions over time (29% in 2002-2005 and 54% in 2013-2015), which was not observed for mineralocorticoid receptor-antagonists (MR-antagonists) (18% in 2002-2005 and 18% in 2013-2015); higher prescription rates of loop diuretics in women and elderly patients together with lower prescription rates of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors and/or angiotensin II receptor blockers, beta blockers or MR-antagonists in these patients; little change in medication prescription rates occurred after 6 months of HF diagnosis and, finally, patients hospitalised for HF who had no recorded follow-up in primary care had considerably lower prescription rates compared with patients with a HF diagnosis in primary care with or without HF hospitalisation.

CONCLUSION: In the general population, the use of MR-antagonists for HF remained low and did not change throughout 13 years of follow-up. For most patients, few changes were seen in pharmacological management of HF in the 6 months following diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere043290
Pages (from-to)1-9
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2 Mar 2021


  • cardiac epidemiology
  • heart failure
  • public health


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