Background: Randomized clinical trials have demonstrated improvement in mortality with angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEIs), β blockers and aldosterone antagonists. The use of these lifesaving
treatments remain inadequate.
Aim: To determine the clinical features, aetiology, treatment and short-term survival of heart failure in a cardiology private practice in Jamaica.
Methods: This is a retrospective analysis of the medical records of 1055 consecutive patients presenting to a consultant cardiologist private practice between January 2002 and March 2003. Data were extracted from the records of the first 100 patients with heart failure.
Results: Most were over 65 years of age, female, never smoked cigarettes, overweight/obese and hypertensive (82%). The most commonly prescribed medications at one month were ACEIs (91%), β blockers (88%) and loop diuretics (55%). The main aetiologies were hypertension (54%) and ischaemic heart disease (IHD) (26%). Ninety-one per cent were in sinus rhythm and 6% in atrial fibrillation. Forty-nine per cent had echocardiograms, of these 39% had ejection fractions (EF) > 40% and 27% had EF # 20%. The survival at one year was 81%.
Conclusion: Hypertension was the major aetiology of heart failure followed by IHD. Medical treatment closely approached the recommended standards of major heart failure guidelines with high ACEI and β blocker use comparable to recent heart failure trials. Short-term survival was very high.