Chronic heart failure management in primary healthcare in Poland: Results of a nationwide cross-sectional study

<p><b>Background:</b> Organizational and educational activities in primary care in Poland have been introduced to improve the chronic heart failure (CHF) management.</p> <p><b>Objectives:</b> To assess the use of diagnostic procedures, pharmacotherapy and referrals of CHF in primary care in Poland.</p> <p><b>Methods:</b> The cross-sectional survey was conducted in 2013, involving 390 primary care centres randomly selected from a national database. Trained nurses contacted primary care physicians who retrospectively filled out the study questionnaires on the previous year’s CHF management in the last five patients who had recently visited their office. The data on diagnostic and treatment procedures were collected.</p> <p><b>Results:</b> The mean age ± SD of the 2006 patients was 72 ± 11 years, 45% were female, and 56% had left ventricular ejection fraction <50%. The percentage of the CHF patients diagnosed based on echocardiography was 67% and significantly increased during the last decade. Echocardiography was still less frequently performed in older patients (≥80 years) than in the younger ones (respectively 50% versus 72%, <i>Ρ</i> <0.001) and in women than in men (62% versus 71%, <i>P</i> <0.001). The percentage of the patients treated with β-blocker alone was 88%, but those with a combination of angiotensin inhibition 71%. The decade before, these percentages were 68% and 57%, respectively. Moreover, an age-related gap observed in the use of the above-mentioned therapy has disappeared.</p> <p><b>Conclusion:</b> The use of echocardiography in CHF diagnostics has significantly improved in primary care in Poland but a noticeable inequality in the geriatric patients and women remains. Most CHF patients received drug classes in accordance with guidelines.</p>