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30-06-2011 | Article

GPs get heart failure target


NICE Quality Standard – Chronic Heart Failure

Patients with suspected heart failure who have previously had a heart attack should be referred urgently for assessment within 2 weeks, a new NICE quality standard states.

The new standard for assessing, diagnosing and managing chronic heart failure in adults features 13 statements to define high- quality care.

These include that GPs should refer suspected cases with a previous myocardial infarction for specialist assessment, including echocardiography, within 2 weeks.

And patients without a history of heart attack should have their serum natriuretic peptide levels tested.

Other statements include offering people with stable heart failure (without a precluding condition or device) group-based cardiac rehabilitation, and giving patients admitted to hospital with heart failure a personalised management plan shared with them, their carers and their GP.

The heart failure standard is the latest in a series of quality standards that will play a key role in the new NHS Outcomes Framework, set out by the government at the end of 2010.

Professor Peter Weissberg, Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation, commented: "Having high quality standards in place will no doubt play an integral part in helping medical staff better diagnose and manage this condition, and drive improvements in care for patients."

GP News is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2011

By Caroline Price