AIMS: The optimal duration of a public heart failure (HF) clinic programme is unknown. This substudy of the NT-proBNP stratified follow-up in outpatient heart failure clinics (NorthStar) trial was designed to evaluate the effect of extended follow-up in an outpatient HF clinic on long-term adherence to guideline-based therapy. METHODS AND RESULTS: Patients with HF with reduced EF on optimal medical therapy (n = 921) were randomized to either extended follow-up in the HF clinic (n = 461) or discharge to primary care (n = 460) and followed for a median of 4.1 years (range: 13 months to 6.1 years). The effect of the HF clinic intervention on treatment adherence (time to at least a 90 day break in treatment) was estimated by drug dispensing from pharmacies of an ACE inhibitor/ARB, beta-blocker (BB), or mineralocorticoid receptor antagonist (MRA). Median age was 69 years, 25% were females, LVEF was 30%, and 90% were in NYHA class II-III. The HF clinic intervention did not reduce time to a 90 day break in treatment with either an ACE inhibitor/ARB [hazard ratio (HR) 0.82, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.34-1.97, P = 0.650], a BB (HR 1.09, 95% CI 0.53-2.66, P = 0.820), or an MRA (HR 1.30, 95% CI 0.85-2.00, P = 0.238). CONCLUSIONS: Extended follow-up in an outpatient HF clinic did not improve long-term adherence to guideline-based therapy, and adherence did not deteriorate when follow-up was shifted from the HF clinic to primary care.
European Journal of Heart Failure, 2014, Vol 16, Issue 11, p. 1249-1255