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      Are Elderly Patients with Suspected HF Misdiagnosed?

      a, b , c , a, b, d


      S. Karger AG

      Heart failure, Primary health care, Elderly, Gender, Echocardiography

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          Background: Few studies are published on heart failure patients in primary health care, in elderly in advanced age. Objective: The purpose of this study was to examine the accuracy of the diagnosis of heart failure in all men and women with focus on age and gender. Methods: The patients were recruited from one selected primary health care in the city of Skellefteå, Sweden. The general practitioners included all patients who had symptoms and signs indicating heart failure. The patients were then referred for an echocardiographic examination and a final cardiology consultation. Results: The general practitioners identified 121 women and 49 men with suspected heart failure of whom 39% (51 women and 16 men) were above 80 years. Women were significantly older than men (mean age 78 and 75 years, respectively, p = 0.03). The main symptom was dyspnoea (80%). Confirmed heart failure was verified in 45% of the patients and was significantly more common in men than women (p = 0.02). Of all men and women above 80 years, 75% and 22%, respectively (p = 0.01) had a verified systolic heart failure, while there were no significant gender differences in patients younger than 80. In a multivariate regression analysis taking gender, age, smoking, atrial fibrillation, hypertension, angina, myocardial infarction and diabetes into account, myocardial infarction (OR = 4.3, CL = 1.8–10.6) hypertension (OR = 3.4, CI = 1.6–6.9) atrial fibrillation (OR = 2.8, CL = 1.0–7.9) remained significantly predictive of a confirmed diagnosis of heart failure. Conclusion: This study showed the difficulty of diagnosing heart failure accurately based only on clinical symptoms, especially in women above 80 years.

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          Most cited references 18

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          Comparison of carvedilol and metoprolol on clinical outcomes in patients with chronic heart failure in the Carvedilol Or Metoprolol European Trial (COMET): randomised controlled trial.

          Beta blockers reduce mortality in patients who have chronic heart failure, systolic dysfunction, and are on background treatment with diuretics and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors. We aimed to compare the effects of carvedilol and metoprolol on clinical outcome. In a multicentre, double-blind, and randomised parallel group trial, we assigned 1511 patients with chronic heart failure to treatment with carvedilol (target dose 25 mg twice daily) and 1518 to metoprolol (metoprolol tartrate, target dose 50 mg twice daily). Patients were required to have chronic heart failure (NYHA II-IV), previous admission for a cardiovascular reason, an ejection fraction of less than 0.35, and to have been treated optimally with diuretics and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors unless not tolerated. The primary endpoints were all-cause mortality and the composite endpoint of all-cause mortality or all-cause admission. Analysis was done by intention to treat. The mean study duration was 58 months (SD 6). The mean ejection fraction was 0.26 (0.07) and the mean age 62 years (11). The all-cause mortality was 34% (512 of 1511) for carvedilol and 40% (600 of 1518) for metoprolol (hazard ratio 0.83 [95% CI 0.74-0.93], p=0.0017). The reduction of all-cause mortality was consistent across predefined subgroups. The composite endpoint of mortality or all-cause admission occurred in 1116 (74%) of 1511 on carvedilol and in 1160 (76%) of 1518 on metoprolol (0.94 [0.86-1.02], p=0.122). Incidence of side-effects and drug withdrawals did not differ by much between the two study groups. Our results suggest that carvedilol extends survival compared with metoprolol.
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            Guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of chronic heart failure.

             ,  Espen Remme,  K Swedberg (2001)
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              Comparison and reproducibility of visual echocardiographic and quantitative radionuclide left ventricular ejection fractions.

              Left ventricular (LV) ejection fraction (EF) is commonly assessed by equilibrium radionuclide angiography and echocardiography. These methods are presumed to be interchangeable for this purpose. This study (1) compares quantification of LVEF by equilibrium radionuclide angiography with visual estimation of LVEF by echocardiography, (2) determines the reproducibility of both methods, and (3) evaluates whether differences in determinations of LVEF are of clinical relevance. Seventy-three clinically stable patients had both equilibrium radionuclide angiography and echocardiography performed within a 4-day period. LVEF by both techniques was compared after blinded analysis by 3 echocardiographers and 3 nuclear technologists. Reproducibility was assessed by blinded repeat analysis after a 1-week interval. The frequency of differences in repeat assessments of EF that the authors considered to be of potential clinical relevance (i.e., difference > or = 10% EF units) was assessed for both techniques. Correlation of LVEF determined by both methods was good (r = 0.81, SEE = 3.5) but with substantial differences in individual patients (limits of agreement, 23.6%). Intra- and inter-observer reproducibility was good for both methods, but better for radionuclide LVEF than for echocardiographic LVEF. Limits of agreement were substantially better for radionuclide LVEF than for echocardiographic LVEF (1.8% to 3.6% versus 13.4% to 17.4%, respectively). Clinically relevant differences did not occur on repeat processing of equilibrium radionuclide angiography. In contrast, potentially clinically relevant differences occurred in 8% to 26% of studies on repeat analysis of echocardiography. Thus, LVEF determined by equilibrium radionuclide angiography and echocardiography show good agreement. Both methods provide clinically valuable measurements for LV function. However, when a precisely reproducible measurement is required for patient management decisions, equilibrium radionuclide angiography is the method of choice.

                Author and article information

                S. Karger AG
                May 2007
                01 September 2006
                : 107
                : 4
                : 226-232
                aDepartment of Medicine, Skellefteå County Hospital, bHeartNet, Skeria, cHeimdall Vårdcentral, Skellefteå, and dDepartment of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden
                95422 Cardiology 2007;107:226–232
                © 2007 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Tables: 3, References: 30, Pages: 7
                Original Research


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