A new study found that many people with heart failure do not receive the medications recommended for them under guidelines set by the American College of Cardiology, American Heart Association and Heart Failure Society of America. The study was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.


The research also found that doctors frequently prescribe medications at doses lower than those recommended by the guidelines, especially for older people, those with kidney disease, those with worsening symptoms or those who were recently hospitalized for heart failure.

Further study is needed to determine why people in those four groups specifically were prescribed lower-than-recommended doses.

The study, which looked at the three categories of heart failure medications, found that between 27% and 67% of patients were not prescribed the recommended drugs. And when patients did receive the medications, they were generally at a lower-than-recommended dose.

Less than 25% of patients simultaneously received all three medication types, and only 1% received the target doses of all three medication types. About 5.7 million people in the United States have heart failure, according to a 2016 report by the American Heart Association.

Heart Muscle

Heart failure is associated with a lower quality of life and frequent hospitalizations, and it contributes to more than 300,000 deaths each year in the U.S. In half of people with heart failure, the disease is caused by a weak heart muscle that prevents the heart from ejecting a normal amount of blood with each heartbeat, a condition called reduced ejection fraction.

Primary Care

The study included 3,518 patients from 150 primary care and cardiology practices who were enrolled in the Change the Management of Patients with Heart Failure registry, or CHAMP-HF, a study of adult outpatients who were diagnosed with heart failure with reduced ejection fraction.

The results suggest that use and dosing of heart failure medications has not improved over the past decade. The report says new strategies are needed to more effectively achieve and maintain recommended doses of heart failure medications and that there is a substantial opportunity.

Improve Medications

To improve dosing of heart failure medications, which would improve the care and outcomes for people with heart failure. In this contemporary outpatient HFrEF registry, significant gaps in use and dose of guideline-directed medical therapy remain.

Multiple clinical factors were associated with medication use and dose prescribed. Strategies to improve guideline-directed use of HFrEF medications remain urgently needed, and these findings may inform targeted approaches to optimize outpatient medical therapy.