Management of chronic heart failure in general practice in Australia
© The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners 2016. Background Chronic heart failure is a common clinical syndrome associated with high healthcare system use. Objectives The aim of this study was to explore the management of chronic heart failure in Australian general practice. Methods Data from the Bettering the Evaluation and Care of Health program were used to determine the prevalence of chronic heart failure, use of natriuretic peptide testing, prescribing patterns, hospitalisation rates and referrals to community-based heart failure management programs in three study periods between 2010 and 2015. Results Data on 8989 patients from 308 general practitioners were analysed. Of these patients, 324 had chronic heart failure (prevalence 3.6%; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 3.1-4.2), 44% (95% CI: 34.5-53.6) of whom had been hospitalised for the condition. The mean number of prescribed heart failure medication agents was 2.26 (95% CI: 2.13-2.39) per patient. Discharge under community heart failure programs was not routine. Discussion Chronic heart failure is a significant burden in general practice. Strategies to optimise management and avoid hospitalisation, where possible, are needed.