Brief Report| Volume 23, ISSUE 10, P770-774, October 2017

Unanswered Questions in Contemporary Heart Failure



      The epidemiology of heart failure (HF) is changing. This study aimed to describe questions that arise during the routine care of HF patients that are unanswered by the current literature and describe how the type and focus of these questions has changed over time.


      Investigators from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute–sponsored Heart Failure Apprentice Network collected and categorized questions from 5 academic hospitals over 12 months. A total of 174 unanswered questions were collected and analyzed.


      Compared with 2004, there were more unanswered questions about “whether” to use therapies and fewer about “how” to use therapies. There were fewer questions about what therapeutic targets, therapy adjustment, and combination therapies. There were more questions about whether or how to stop therapies and how to add therapies back. Newly prominent topics, not observed in 2004, including novel therapeutics, refractory ventricular tachycardia, right heart failure, and nutrition/frailty, accounted for 24% of questions.


      Compared with 2004, there are fewer unanswered questions about how to use, adjust, and combine therapies. There were more unanswered questions about whether and how to stop therapies. Almost 25% of unanswered questions dealt with topics indicative of more advanced disease which were not observed in 2004.

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