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Timing of Postdischarge Follow-Up and Medication Adherence Among Patients With Heart Failure.

  • Author(s): Chang, Leslie L
  • Xu, Haolin
  • DeVore, Adam D
  • Matsouaka, Roland A
  • Yancy, Clyde W
  • Fonarow, Gregg C
  • Allen, Larry A
  • Hernandez, Adrian F
  • et al.

BACKGROUND:Medication adherence improves outcomes for patients with heart failure, but adherence rates remain low. We examined the association between earlier postdischarge follow-up and medication adherence. METHODS AND RESULTS:We performed a retrospective cohort study of patients ≥65 years who were hospitalized for heart failure, covered by Medicare Part D, and discharged alive from April 2006 to October 2012 using the Get With The Guidelines-Heart Failure Registry linked to Medicare claims. Patients were categorized into 4 groups by timing of first postdischarge follow-up visit: ≤1, 1 to 2, 2 to 6, and >6 weeks. Medication adherence was defined by proportion of days covered of >80% at 90 days and 1-year posthospital discharge to 5 guideline-directed medical therapies (angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor/angiotensin receptor blocker, evidence-based β-blocker, aldosterone antagonist, hydralazine/isosorbide dinitrate, and anticoagulation for atrial fibrillation). Among 9878 patients with heart failure, 73% had left ventricular ejection fraction ≤40%, median age was 78 years (25th-75th percentile, 71-84), and 48% were male. Overall, 30% had a follow-up appointment within 1-week postdischarge and 25% >6 weeks. At 1 year, medication adherence was 53% for evidence-based β-blockers, 48% for angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors/angiotensin receptor blockers, and 8% for hydralazine/isosorbide dinitrate. We found no significant association between timing of first follow-up visit and medication adherence at 1 year (1.04, 0.92-1.17) when comparing follow-up visits >6 weeks to the earliest ones. CONCLUSIONS:Posthospital heart failure discharge, overall adherence to medical therapies in Medicare beneficiaries was low. Early follow-up was not associated with increased medication adherence to guideline-directed medical therapy in the short or long term.

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