Training general practitioners to improve evidence-based drug treatment of patients with heart failure: a cluster randomised controlled trial

M J M Valk, A W Hoes, A Mosterd, M A Landman, N P A Zuithoff, B D L Broekhuizen, F H Rutten

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Abstract

AIMS: To assess whether a single training session for general practitioners (GPs) improves the evidence-based drug treatment of heart failure (HF) patients, especially of those with HF with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF).

METHODS AND RESULTS: A cluster randomised controlled trial was performed for which patients with established HF were eligible. Primary care practices (PCPs) were randomised to care-as-usual or to the intervention group in which GPs received a half-day training session on HF management. Changes in HF medication, health status, hospitalisation and survival were compared between the two groups. Fifteen PCPs with 200 HF patients were randomised to the intervention group and 15 PCPs with 198 HF patients to the control group. Mean age was 76.9 (SD 10.8) years; 52.5% were female. On average, the patients had been diagnosed with HF 3.0 (SD 3.0) years previously. In total, 204 had HFrEF and 194 HF with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF). In participants with HFrEF, the use of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors/angiotensin receptor blockers decreased in 6 months in both groups [5.2%; (95% confidence interval (CI) 2.0-10.0)] and 5.6% (95% CI 2.8-13.4)], respectively [baseline-corrected odds ratio (OR) 1.07 (95% CI 0.55-2.08)], while beta-blocker use increased in both groups by 5.2% (95% CI 2.0-10.0) and 1.1% (95% CI 0.2-6.3), respectively [baseline-corrected OR 0.82 (95% CI 0.42-1.61)]. For health status, hospitalisations or survival after 12-28 months there were no significant differences between the two groups, also not when separately analysed for HFrEF and HFpEF.

CONCLUSION: A half-day training session for GPs does not improve drug treatment of HF in patients with established HF.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)604-612
Number of pages9
JournalNetherlands Heart Journal
Volume28
Early online date30 Sept 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020

Keywords

  • Drug treatment
  • Health status
  • Heart failure
  • Hospitalisation
  • Primary care
  • Survival

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