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Survey finds GPs need more education on heart failure

GPs are failing to prescribe the best treatment for patients with heart failure, according to a major Europe-wide survey of 3,000 GPs.

Some 74 per cent of the 300 UK GPs surveyed used signs and symptoms alone to diagnose heart failure, which goes against guidance to use more accurate tests such as an electrocardiograph or echocardiogram.

Almost two-thirds (63 per cent) of UK GPs initiated therapy with diuretics despite European Society guidelines recommending an ACE inhibitor as first-line treatment and a ?-blocker if patients remained asymptomatic.

Moreover, 95 per cent of UK GPs believed ?-blockers worsened the condition and 45 per cent thought ACE inhibitors also had a detrimental effect.

Professor Willem Remme, consultant cardiologist at the Sticares Cardiovascular Research Institute in Rotterdam, who presented the results at the European Society for Cardiology meeting on heart failure in Strasbourg last week, said: 'There is an urgent need to educate primary care physicians on the appropriate diagnosis and management of heart failure.'

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