Heart Failure Reviews

, Volume 24, Issue 4, pp 499–510 | Cite as

Effects of European Society of Cardiology guidelines on medication profiles after hospitalization for heart failure in 22,476 Dutch patients: from 2001 until 2015

  • Willemien J. Kruik-KollöffelEmail author
  • Gerard C.M. Linssen
  • H. Joost Kruik
  • Kris L.L. Movig
  • Edith M. Heintjes
  • Job van der Palen


Prescriber adherence to guideline-recommended medication in patients with heart failure (HF) in clinical practice is suboptimal. We analyzed how evolving guideline recommendations influenced medication profiles after a first HF hospitalization. We extracted medication profiles from the Dutch PHARMO Database Network for 22,476 patients with a diagnosis of HF at hospital discharge between 2001 and 2015. The percentage of patients prescribed the combination of a beta-blocker (BB) and an angiotensin-converting-enzyme inhibitor (ACEI) or angiotensin-receptor blocker (ARB) increased from 24 to approximately 45% within this 15-year period. The percentage of patients who also used a mineralocorticoid-receptor antagonist (MRA) reached approximately 20%. The probability of being prescribed these combinations decreased with increasing age. As a consequence of the policy change in the ESC guideline 2001, the use of BB increased from less than 40% in 2001 to about 70% by 2015. The percentage of patients prescribed an ACEI and/or an ARB, an MRA, or a diuretic was about stable, at respectively 63%, 37%, and 82%. Although the 2012 ESC guideline also advised MRA in the New York Heart Association (NYHA) class II, there was no increase in MRA prescriptions. Compliance with the ESC guidelines varied for the individual recommendations. Remarkably, there was no significant increase in MRA prescriptions. At the same time, developments were demonstrated, which were not instigated by the guidelines, like the shift from ACEI to ARB. Although the exact HF classification of our patients was unknown, given a relatively stable case mix, our data provide insight into “real-world” pharmacological management.


Heart failure Drug therapy Pharmacoepidemiology Guideline adherence Practice guideline Health plan implementation 



The authors would like to thank all the healthcare providers contributing information to the PHARMO Database Network.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interests

E.M. Heintjes is an employee of the PHARMO Institute for Drug Outcomes Research. This independent research institute performs financially supported studies for government and related healthcare authorities and several pharmaceutical companies. This study, however, was not supported by a pharmaceutical company. W.J. Kruik-Kollöffel, G.C.M. Linssen, H.J. Kruik, K.L.L. Movig, and J. van der Palen have no conflicts of interest or financial ties to disclose.

Ethical improvement

For this kind of study, formal consent is not required.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Clinical PharmacySaxenburgh GroupHardenbergthe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of Clinical PharmacyHospital Group TwenteAlmelo and Hengelothe Netherlands
  3. 3.Department of CardiologyHospital Group TwenteAlmelo and Hengelothe Netherlands
  4. 4.Department of Clinical PharmacyMedisch Spectrum TwenteEnschedethe Netherlands
  5. 5.PHARMO InstituteUtrechtthe Netherlands
  6. 6.Medical School TwenteMedisch Spectrum TwenteEnschedethe Netherlands
  7. 7.Department of Research Methodology, Measurement and Data AnalysisUniversity of TwenteEnschedethe Netherlands

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