The management of heart failure in Europe is largely conducted by primary care physicians in out-patient clinics and by cardiologists and internists in hospitals. Several reports suggest differences among these specialists regarding knowledge and actual practice, and indicate that the application of guidelines is far from optimal. In order to look for differences between cardiologists and internists in terms of implementation of guidelines a survey was carried out among the directors of 83 hospital departments of cardiology and internal medicine in Portugal. The survey included questions about diagnostic and treatment protocols, special areas for management, and suggestions to improve the quality of heart failure patient treatment. The answers suggest that in Portuguese hospitals at least half of the patients with HF are treated by internists. Treatment protocols exist in about 25% of the cardiology departments but are virtually non-existent in internal medicine. The use and availability of echocardiography are high in cardiology but no more than reasonable in internal medicine. There are neither special in-hospital areas nor specialized nurses for the treatment of HF. Cardiologists recognize the need for greater specialization in this field--doctors, nurses and clinics--but this is not a priority for internists. An effort should be made to improve in-hospital HF treatment.
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||Revista Portuguesa de Cardiologia|
|Publication status||Published - Dec 2001|