It is recommended that persons recently diagnosed with heart failure consult with a specialist in heart failure.
To determine whether patients who were diagnosed with new-onset chronic heart failure (CHF) by a noncardiologist consulted with a cardiologist, and identify the factors associated with delayed consultation.
Physician reimbursement administrative data were obtained for all adults with suspected new-onset CHF in the year 2000 in Quebec, defined operationally as a physician visit for CHF (based on the International Classification of Diseases, 9th Revision diagnostic codes), with no previous physician visit code for CHF in the preceding three years. Among those first diagnosed by a noncardiologist, Cox regression modelling was used to identify patient and physician characteristics associated with time to cardiology consultation.
Of the 13,523 persons coded as having incident CHF, 54.9% consulted a cardiologist within the next 2.5 to 3.5 years, and 67.4% were seen by an internist or cardiologist. Older patients, women, and those with lower comorbidity and socioeconomic status had significantly longer times to cardiology consultation.
The data suggest that many patients with suspected new-onset CHF do not receive prompt cardiology care, as stipulated by current recommendations. Equity of access for women and those with lower socioeconomic status appears to be problematic.
Cites: Arch Intern Med. 2000 Jan 24;160(2):197-20210647758