Rural and urban differentials in primary care management of chronic heart failure: New data from the CASE study

Robyn A. Clark, Kerena A. Eckert, Simon Stewart, Susan M. Phillips, Julie J. Yallop, Andrew M. Tonkin, Henry Krum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To determine whether primary care management of chronic heart failure (CHF) differed between rural and urban areas in Australia. Design: A cross-sectional survey stratified by Rural, Remote and Metropolitan Areas (RRMA) classification. The primary source of data was the Cardiac Awareness Survey and Evaluation (CASE) study. Setting: Secondary analysis of data obtained from 341 Australian general practitioners and 23 845 adults aged 60 years or more in 1998. Main outcome measures: CHF determined by criteria recommended by the World Health Organization, diagnostic practices, use of pharmacotherapy, and CHF-related hospital admissions in the 12 months before the study. Results: There was a significantly higher prevalence of CHF among general practice patients in large and small rural towns (16.1%) compared with capital city and metropolitan areas (12.4%) (P < 0.001). Echocardiography was used less often for diagnosis in rural towns compared with metropolitan areas (52.0% v 67.3%, P < 0.001). Rates of specialist referral were also significantly lower in rural towns than in metropolitan areas (59.1% v 69.6%, P < 0.001), as were prescribing rates of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (51.4% v 60.1%, P < 0.001). There was no geographical variation in prescribing rates of β-blockers (12.6% [rural] v 11.8% [metropolitan], P = 0.32). Overall, few survey participants received recommended "evidence-based practice" diagnosis and management for CHF (metropolitan, 4.6%; rural, 3.9%; and remote areas, 3.7%). Conclusions: This study found a higher prevalence of CHF, and significantly lower use of recommended diagnostic methods and pharmacological treatment among patients in rural areas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)441-445
Number of pages5
JournalMedical Journal of Australia
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 7 May 2007
Externally publishedYes


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