Background: The ESC guidelines recommend that an organised system of specialist heart failure (HF) care should be established to improve outcomes of HF patients. The aim of this study was therefore to identify the number and the content of HF management programmes in Europe. Method: A two-phase descriptive study was conducted: an initial screening to identify the existence of HF management programmes; and a survey to describe the content in countries where at least 30% of the hospitals had a programme. Results: Of the 43 European countries approached, 26 (60%) estimated the percentage of HF management programmes. Seven countries reported that they had such programmes in more than 30% of their hospitals. Of the 673 hospitals responding to the questionnaire, 426 (63%) had a HF management programme. Half of the programmes (n = 205) were located in an outpatient clinic. In the UK a combination of hospital and home-based programmes was common (75%). The most programmes included physical examination, telephone consultation, patient education, drug titration and diagnostic testing. Most (89%) programmes involved nurses and physicians. Multi-disciplinary teams were active in 56% of the HF programmes. The most prominent differences between the 7 countries were the degree of collaboration with home care and GP's, the role in palliative care and the funding. Conclusion: Only a few European countries have a large number of organised programmes for HF care and follow up. To improve outcomes of HF patients throughout Europe more effort should be taken to increase the number of these programmes in all countries.

, , ,,
European Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing
Department of Anesthesiology

Jaarsma, T., Strömberg, A., de Geest, S., Fridlund, B., Heikkilä, J., Martensson, J., … Thompson, D. (2006). Heart failure management programmes in Europe. European Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing, 5(3), 197–205. doi:10.1016/j.ejcnurse.2006.04.002