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Improved Care for Patients with Congestive Heart Failure

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Background: Congestive heart failure (CHF) affects 4.9 million people, mostly elderly, in the United States; 550,000 new cases are diagnosed each year. Evidence-based treatment approaches offer opportunities to reduce mortality, complications, and rehospitalization rates.

Strategies to Improve Care for Patients with Congestive Heart Failure: Seven key components of care tailored to the patient's clinical condition and comorbidities that should be provided to all patients with CHF, in the absence of contraindications or intolerance: (1) left ventricular systolic function assessment, (2) angiotension-converting enzyme-inhibitor or angiotensin receptor blockers at discharge for CHF patients with systolic dysfunction (left ventricular ejection fraction < 40%), (3) anticoagulation at discharge for CHF patients with chronic or recurrent atrial fibrillation, (4) smoking cessation advice and counseling, (5) discharge instructions that address activity level, diet, discharge medications, follow-up appointment, weight monitoring, and what to do if symptoms worsen, (6) influenza immunization (seasonal), and (7) pneumococcal immunization. Hospitals should also consider beta-blocker therapy at discharge for stabilized patients without contraindications.

Conclusion: The 5 Million Lives Campaign's focus on delivering reliable, evidence-based care for patients with CHF is part of an overall strategy to reduce medically induced harm.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2008-01-01

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