This paper reports on an international comparison of the characteristics, treatment and health outcomes of chronic heart failure (CHF) patients discharged from acute hospital care in Australia and Scotland. The baseline characteristics and treatment of 200 CHF patients recruited to a randomised study of a non-pharmacological intervention in Australia and 157 CHF patients concurrently recruited to a similar study in Scotland were compared. Subsequent health outcomes (including survival and readmission) within 3 months of discharge in those patients who received usual post-discharge care in Australia (n = 100) and Scotland (n = 75) were also compared. Individuals in both countries were predominantly old and frail with significant comorbidity likely to complicate treatment. Similar proportions of Australian and Scottish patients were prescribed either a 'high' (20 vs. 18%) or medium (64 vs. 66%) dose of an angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor. Proportionately more Australian patients were prescribed a long-acting nitrate, digoxin and/or a β-blocker. At 3 months post-discharge, 57 of the 100 (57%: 95% CI 47-67%) Australian and 37 of the 75 (49%: 95% CI 38-61%) Scottish patients assigned to 'usual care' remained event-free (NS). Similarly, 15 vs. 12% required ≥ 2 unplanned readmission (NS) and 16 vs. 19% of Australian and Scottish patients, respectively, died (NS). Australian and Scottish patients accumulated a median of 0.6 vs. 0.9 days, respectively, of hospitalisation/patient/month (NS). On multivariate analysis (including country of origin), unplanned readmission or death was independently correlated with severe renal impairment (adjusted odds ratio 4.4, P < 0.05), a previous hospitalisation for CHF (2.3, P < 0.05), longer index hospitalisation (2.7 for > 10 days, P < 0.05) and greater comorbidity (1.3 for each incremental unit of the Charlson Index, P = 0.05). Health outcomes among predominantly old and frail CHF patients appear to be independent of the health-care system in which the patient is managed and more likely to be dependent on the syndrome itself.
- Chronic heart failure