Contemporary Outpatient Management of Patients with Worsening Heart Failure with Reduced Ejection Fraction: Rationale and Design of the CHART-HF Study
American Heart Journal, 2022
Patients with heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF) and worsening HF events (WHFE) represent a distinct subset of patients with a substantial comorbidity burden, greater potential for intolerance to medical therapy, and high risk of subsequent death, hospitalization and excessive healthcare costs. Although multiple therapies have been shown to be efficacious and safe in this high-risk population, there are limited real-world data regarding factors that impact clinical decision-making when initiating or modifying therapy. Likewise, prior analyses of US clinical practice support major gaps in medical therapy for HFrEF and few medication changes during longitudinal follow-up, yet granular data on reasons why clinicians do not initiate or up-titrate guideline-directed medication are lacking.
We designed the CHART-HF study, an observational study of approximately 1,500 patients comparing patients with and without WHFE (WHFE defined as receipt of intravenous diuretics in the inpatient, outpatient, or emergency department setting) who had an index outpatient visit in the US between 2017 and 2019. Patient-level data on clinical characteristics, clinical outcomes, and therapy will be collected from 2 data sources: a single integrated health system, and a national panel of cardiologists. Furthermore, clinician-reported rationale for treatment decisions and the factors prioritized with selection and optimization of therapies in real-world practice will be obtained. To characterize elements of clinician decision-making not documented in the medical record, the panel of cardiologists will review records of patients seen under their care to explicitly note their primary reason for initiating, discontinuing, and titrating medications specific medications, as well as the reason for not making changes to each medication during the outpatient visit.
Results from CHART-HF have the potential to detail real-world US practice patterns regarding care of patients with HFrEF with versus without a recent WHFE, to examine clinician-reported reasons for use and non-use of guideline-directed medical therapy, and to characterize the magnitude and nature of clinical inertia toward evidence-based medication changes for HFrEF.