Short-Term Aggressive Disease Management Programs for Heart Failure: Effect on Drug Utilization, Clinical Outcomes, and Costs
Kwame O. Akosah
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in developed countries. It is estimated that about 15 million people worldwide die every year from heart disease, with a substantial proportion of these deaths occurring in developing nations. Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a condition that develops as a late complication from a variety of heart disease states. CHF remains a devastating disease. It exacts a high toll in terms of mortality and morbidity and carries a high price burden. As the population ages and treatments for conditions such as acute coronary syndrome and hypertension improve, the prevalence of heart failure can be expected to increase, because survivors of hypertension and myocardial infarction live long enough to develop complications such as congestive heart failure. Recent advances have clearly shown that treatment strategies including ACE inhibitors, beta-adrenoceptor antagonists, and aldosterone inhibitors improve morbidity and survival. However, even among patients treated with recommended therapy at recommended doses, mortality remains high. Opportunities exist for further improvement of prognosis beyond current guidelines for heart failure. As new evidence emerges, it is evident that survival can be further improved by using other strategies such as angiotensin receptor antagonists as alternative or add-on therapy and ventricular resynchronization for qualifying candidates. The management of heart failure patients in the community presents unique challenges. Patients who are managed in community hospitals are often elderly and/or very ill, with several comorbidities and clinical characteristics that may be different from patients who qualify for clinical trials. Furthermore, there appears to be a delay in incorporating scientific evidence into practice and studies continue to show that many heart failure patients do not receive recommended medications at adequate doses. Disease management programs have evolved as a way of improving heart failure care. Different models have been established and some institutions have published the results of their specific programs. The consistent findings include reductions in hospitalization rates, improvements in quality of life, and reductions in cost. However, to date, such studies have not compared different models and until large prospective trials are available, the true benefits of these programs will continue to be debated.
In order to set up a list of libraries that you have access to,
you must first login
or sign up.
Then set up a personal list of libraries from your profile page by
clicking on your user name at the top right of any screen.