BACKGROUND: Data on the association between quality of heart failure (HF) care and outcomes among patients with incident HF are sparse. We examined the association between process performance measures and clinical outcomes in patients with incident HF with reduced ejection fraction.
METHODS: Patients with incident HF with reduced ejection fraction (n=10 966) between January 2008 and October 2015 were identified from the Danish HF Registry. Data from public registries were linked. Multivariable regression analyses were used to assess the association between 6 guideline-recommended HF care processes (New York Heart Association assessment, use of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors/angiotensin II receptor blockers, beta-blockers, and mineralocorticoid receptor antagonists, exercise training, and patient education) and all-cause and HF readmission, all-cause and HF hospital days, and mortality within 3 to 12 months after HF diagnosis. The associations were analyzed according to the percentages of all relevant performance measures fulfilled for the individual patient (0%-50% [reference group], >50%-75%, and >75%-100%) and for the individual performance measures.
RESULTS: Fulfilling >75% to 100% of the performance measures (n=5341 [48.7%]) was associated with lower risk of all-cause readmission (adjusted hazard ratio, 0.78 [95% CI, 0.68-0.89]) and HF readmission (adjusted hazard ratio, 0.71 [95% CI, 0.54-0.92]), lower use of all-cause hospital days (adjusted mean ratio, 0.73 [95% CI, 0.70-0.76]) and HF hospital days (adjusted mean ratio, 0.79 [95% CI, 0.70-0.89]), and lower mortality (adjusted hazard ratio, 0.42 [95% CI, 0.32-0.53]). A dose-response relationship was observed between fulfilling more performance measures and mortality (adjusted hazard ratio, 0.62 [95% CI, 0.49-0.77] fulfilling >50%-75% of the measures). Fulfilling individual performance measures, except mineralocorticoid receptor antagonist therapy, was associated with lower adjusted all-cause readmission, lower adjusted use of all-cause and HF hospital days, and lower adjusted mortality.
CONCLUSIONS: Fulfilling more process performance measures was associated with better clinical outcomes in patients with incident HF with reduced ejection fraction.