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Wonisch M et al.  
Management of Congestive Heart Failure by General Practitioners - Results from the Styrian Heart Failure Survey

Journal of Clinical and Basic Cardiology 2001; 4 (2): 145-148

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Keywords: AllgemeinmedizinerDiagnosekongestive Herzinsuffizienzmedikamentöse TherapieUntersuchungcongestive heart failurediagnosisgeneral practitionersmedical treatmentsurvey

As congestive heart failure (CHF) is a potentially life-threatening disease with increasing incidence and prevalence, guidelines for its diagnosis and treatment have been developed. In this study we examined the management of patients with CHF by general practitioners (GPs) in the province of Styria, Austria. Questionnaires designed to examine the pattern of diagnosis and treatment of CHF were sent to all 827 GPs in the province. The return rate was 31 %. GPs considered physical signs and symptoms (clinical examination) to be the most important elements in the diagnosis of CHF and invasive cardiovascular procedures to be the most inappropriate measure. Most of the GPs managed patients with CHF themselves. First-line medications included ACE inhibitors in 83 %, diuretics in 89 % and digitalis in 71 %. Dosages of diuretics and digitalis were in accordance with the recommendations, but dosage of ACE-inhibitors tended to be too low. There is potential for improvement in diagnostic procedures and medication. Adherence to the proposed guidelines could improve current management of CHF patients in our region.
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