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ANMCO/SIC Consensus Document: cardiology networks for outpatient heart failure care.

Eur Heart J Suppl; 19(Suppl D): D89-D101, 2017 May.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-28751837
Changing demographics and an increasing burden of multiple chronic comorbidities in Western countries dictate refocusing of heart failure (HF) services from acute in-hospital care to better support the long inter-critical out-of- hospital phases of HF. In Italy, as well as in other countries, needs of the HF population are not adequately addressed by current HF outpatient services, as documented by differences in age, gender, comorbidities and recommended therapies between patients discharged for acute hospitalized HF and those followed-up at HF clinics. The Italian Working Group on Heart Failure has drafted a guidance document for the organisation of a national HF care network. Aims of the document are to describe tasks and requirements of the different health system points of contact for HF patients, and to define how diagnosis, management and care processes should be documented and shared among health-care professionals. The document classifies HF outpatient clinics in three groups: (i) community HF clinics, devoted to management of stable patients in strict liaison with primary care, periodic re-evaluation of emerging clinical needs and prompt treatment of impending destabilizations, (ii) hospital HF clinics, that target both new onset and chronic HF patients for diagnostic assessment, treatment planning and early post-discharge follow-up. They act as main referral for general internal medicine units and community clinics, and (iii) advanced HF clinics, directed at patients with severe disease or persistent clinical instability, candidates to advanced treatment options such as heart transplant or mechanical circulatory support. Those different types of HF clinics are integrated in a dedicated network for management of HF patients on a regional basis, according to geographic features. By sharing predefined protocols and communication systems, these HF networks integrate multi-professional providers to ensure continuity of care and patient empowerment. In conclusion, This guidance document details roles and interactions of cardiology specialists, so as to best exploit the added value of their input in the care of HF patients and is intended to promote a more efficient and effective organization of HF services.