The tip of the iceberg: finding patients with heart failure with preserved ejection fraction in primary care. An observational study
Christi Deaton, Duncan Edwards, Alexandra Malyon and M Justin S Zaman
Background: Heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) is under-identified in primary care. Aim: The aim of this study was to determine what information is available in patients’ primary care practice records that would identify patients with HFpEF. Design & setting: Record review in two practices in east of England. Method: Practices completed a case report form on each patient on the heart failure register and sent anonymised echocardiography reports on patients with an ejection fraction (EF) >50%. Reports were reviewed and data analysed using SPSS (version 25). Results: One hundred and forty-eight patients on the heart failure registers with mean age 77 +12 years were reviewed. Fifty-three patients (36%) had possible HFpEF based on available information. These patients were older and multimorbid, with a high prevalence of overweight and obesity. Confirmation of diagnosis was not possible as recommended HFpEF diagnostic information (natriuretic peptides, echocardiogram parameters of structural heart disease and diastolic function) was widely inconsistent or absent in these patients. Conclusion: Without correct identification of HFpEF, patient management may be suboptimal or inappropriate, and lack the needed focus on comorbidities and lifestyle that can improve patient outcomes. This study describes in detail the characteristics of many of the patients who probably have HFpEF in a real-world sample, and the improvements and diagnostic information required to better identify them. Identifying more than the tip of the iceberg that is the HFpEF population will allow the improvement of the quality of their management, the prevention of ineffective health care, and the recruitment of patients into research.