Improving care for patients with acute heart failure: before, during and after hospitalization.
Acute heart failure (AHF) is a common and serious condition that contributes to about 5% of all emergency hospital admissions in Europe and the USA. Here, we present the recommendations from structured discussions among an author group of AHF experts in 2013. The epidemiology of AHF and current practices in diagnosis, treatment, and long-term care for patients with AHF in Europe and the USA are examined. Available evidence indicates variation in the quality of care across hospitals and regions. Challenges include the need for rapid diagnosis and treatment, the heterogeneity of precipitating factors, and the typical repeated episodes of decompensation requiring admission to hospital for stabilization. In hospital, care should involve input from an expert in AHF and auditing to ensure that guidelines and protocols for treatment are implemented for all patients. A smooth transition to follow-up care is vital. Patient education programmes could have a dramatic effect on improving outcomes. Information technology should allow, where appropriate, patient telemonitoring and sharing of medical records. Where needed, access to end-of-life care and support for all patients, families, and caregivers should form part of a high-quality service. Eight evidence-based consensus policy recommendations are identified by the author group: optimize patient care transitions, improve patient education and support, provide equity of care for all patients, appoint experts to lead AHF care across disciplines, stimulate research into new therapies, develop and implement better measures of care quality, improve end-of-life care, and promote heart failure prevention.
Cowie, MR; Anker, SD; Cleland, JGF; Felker, GM; Filippatos, G; Jaarsma, T; Jourdain, P; Knight, E; Massie, B; Ponikowski, P; López-Sendón, J
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