Is optimal angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor dosing neglected in elderly patients with heart failure?
ABSTRACT The benefit of angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors on mortality in heart failure has been proved in randomized controlled trials.
We prospectively evaluated the prescribing of ACE inhibitors and the prescribing of target ACE inhibitor doses in 43 ambulatory patients with heart failure to identify differences in ACE inhibitor utilization among elderly and nonelderly patients. The prescribed ACE inhibitor dose and other variables were assessed by direct patient interview and information contained in the medical record. Telephone calls were conducted at 3 months to identify the occurrence of clinical events.
Fewer elderly patients were prescribed target ACE inhibitor doses compared with nonelderly patients (21.4% vs 68.8%; p = 0.0136). Elderly patients were more likely to experience an event than nonelderly patients (11 vs 4; p = 0.0074). Elderly patients not receiving target ACE inhibitor doses demonstrated a trend toward more events than elderly patients who were at target doses.
The data suggest that this group of elderly patients with heart failure who received lower ACE inhibitor doses appeared to be at higher risk for clinical events.
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ABSTRACT: Congestive heart failure (CHF) is associated with substantial morbidity and mortality, and is the only major cardiovascular disease increasing in prevalence. Despite abundant evidence to support their efficacy and cost-effectiveness, angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors are sub-optimally used in patients with CHF. This paper reviews the evidence for the sub-optimal use of ACE inhibitors in patients with CHF, the factors contributing to this, and its implications for health systems. A systematic review of all articles assessing practice patterns (specifically the use of ACE inhibitors in CHF) identified by MEDLINE, search of bibliographies, and contact with content experts was undertaken. 37 studies have documented the use of ACE inhibitors in patients with CHF. Studies assessing use among all patients with CHF document 33% to 67% (median 51%) of all patients discharged from hospital and 10% to 36% (median 26%) of community dwelling patients were prescribed ACE inhibitors. Rates of ACE inhibitor use range from 43% to 90% (median of 71%) amongst those discharged from hospital having known systolic dysfunction, and from 67% to 95% (median of 86%) for those monitored in specialty clinics. Moreover, the dosages used in the 'real world' are substantially lower than those proven efficacious in randomised, controlled trials, with evaluations reporting only a minority of patients achieving target doses and/or an overall mean dose achieved to be less than one-half of the target dose. Factors predicting the use and optimal dose administration of ACE inhibitors are identified, and include variables relating to the setting (previous hospitalisation, specialty clinic follow-up), the physician (cardiology specialty versus family practitioner or general internist, board certification), the patient (increased severity of symptoms, male, younger), and the drug (lower frequency of administration). In light of the substantial evidence for reductions in morbidity and mortality, clearly, the prescription of ACE inhibitors is sub-optimal. Wide variability in ACE inhibitor use is noted, with higher rates consistently reported among patients having systolic dysfunction confirmed by an objective assessment--an apparent minority of the those having CHF. Optimisation of the prescription of proven efficacious therapies has the potential to confer a substantial reduction in the total cost of care for patients with CHF by reducing hospitalisations and lengths of hospital stays. It is likely that only multifaceted programs targeted toward the population at large will yield benefits to the healthcare system, given the widespread nature of the sub-optimal prescription of therapies proven effective in the management of patients with CHF.Drugs 02/2001; 61(14):2021-33. · 4.13 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Heart failure (HF) is a common and expensive cardiovascular disease, in economic terms as well as in lives lost. Angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors have been shown to significantly reduce mortality and hospitalisation in HF. However, recent surveys show that the prescription rate of ACE inhibitors for HF is far below what is considered to be optimal. Furthermore, prescribed dosages are usually lower than those recommended based on evidence from clinical trials. This article estimates the consequences, both economic and human, of underprescribing ACE inhibitors in patients with HF. The indication for prescribing an ACE inhibitor varies, and clinical trials have included different categories of patients; it is inappropriate to assess costs in all eligible patients without taking these factors into account. Therefore, we analysed the data with respect to 4 different groups: (i) asymptomatic left ventricular systolic dysfunction (LVSD)--an early stage leading to chronic HF; (ii) chronic HF; and post-myocardial infarction (MI) LVSD differentiated into (iii) post-MI asymptomatic LVSD and (iv) post-MI chronic HF. We also estimated the cost effectiveness of adding an ACE inhibitor to the treatment of patients with HF for whom an ACE inhibitor is not currently prescribed. If only patient populations in which large trials have shown a significant effect of ACE inhibition on mortality are included in the analysis (i.e. excluding asymptomatic patients with LVSD), increasing the number of Swedish patients receiving an ACE inhibitor could save in excess of 3700 lives each year, in addition to reducing the annual number of hospitalisations by 8400. The additional cost would be 101.5 million Swedish kronor (SEK), a cost per life saved of SEK27 200. Chronic HF is the most cost-effective patient population to treat, generating cost savings under certain assumptions. A further 6700 hospitalisations can be avoided should the use of ACE inhibitors be extended to asymptomatic patients with LVSD. Increasing dosages to those used in the large clinical trials may generate additional savings in lives and hospitalisations. In conclusion, the use of ACE inhibitors in HF and LVSD has clearly been proven to be cost effective, and compares favourably with the cost effectiveness of treating hypertension or hypercholesterolaemia. At present, however, ACE inhibitors are not optimally utilised. Given the increasingly constrained resources for healthcare, every effort should be made to increase the use of cost-effective treatments, such as ACE inhibitors in chronic HF and post-MI LVSD.PharmacoEconomics 07/1999; 15(6):535-50. · 2.86 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Heart failure is increasing in incidence and prevalence and is predominantly a condition of the elderly, which confers significant morbidity and mortality risks and places an enormous economic burden on the health care system and society. A reduction in hospitalizations and improvement of quality of life are the primary goals in the management of heart failure. Evidence-based medicine provides clinicians with the best armamentarium to provide high quality and cost-effective care to patients diagnosed with this chronic, progressive, and debilitating condition. A multidisciplinary approach to care can be instrumental in the management of these complex patients. Further studies are warranted in elderly patients to provide the evidence for optimal therapies in this frail population.Director (Cincinnati, Ohio) 02/2003; 11(4):177-81.