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A new risk-scoring system can help GPs to predict death or hospital admission in patients with chronic heart failure, research-ers report.

The score uses 21 clinical risk factors to predict all-cause mortality or cardiovascular death and hospital admission. Researchers stratified heart failure patients into 10ths of risk of two-year death, ranging from 2.5 to 44 per cent.

Study leader Professor Stuart Pocock, professor of medical statistics at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said: 'GPs can look at the risk factors that are most important and say which are going badly for this patient.

'If quite a lot of them are, that might help the GP as to whether more intensive monitoring or referral is warranted.'

Professor Pocock, who also worked on a risk score for angina reported in Pulse last week, added: 'It covers the whole spectrum of heart failure, including patients whose disease is not very advanced.'

The study of 7,599 patients, published online by the European Heart Journal last week, found the three most powerful risk predictors were older age (over 60), diabetes and lower left ventricular ejection fraction under 45 per cent.

Other independent predictors for chronic heart failure

included higher NYHA class, cardiomegaly, previous admission for heart failure, male

sex, lower body mass index

and lower diastolic blood

pressure.

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