Heart Failure Patients Need More Counseling on Defibrillators

Only 1 in 5 patients who might benefit from an implantable defibrillator after being hospitalized for heart failure gets counselling on that option, a Duke study found.

Heart failure patients have many treatment options, including--for some--getting an implantable defibrillator. But only about 1 in 5 hospitalized heart failure patients who might benefit from an implantable defibrillators gets pre-discharge counseling on that option, a Duke University study found.

Paul Hess, M.D., clinical fellow, department of cardiology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, N.C., will report Monday, March 16 in a poster session at the American College of Cardiology meeting in San Diego, CA on Monday March 16 on his study. He found that in patients who were eligible for implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) only 4,755 were documented as have received pre-discharge ICD counseling. The hospitals involved in the study were participating in the American Heart Association’s “Get with the Guidelines” heart failure program from Jan. 1, 2011 to March 21, 2014.

The study also found that women, non-whites, and Hispanics were less likely to get counseling.

In another disparity he uncovered race also played a role.

Among those who did get counseling, women were just as likely as men to receive the ICDs but white patients were more likely to get them than people of other races.

“Culturally appropriate ICD counseling should be a focus of future quality improvement initiatives,” Hess concluded.