Journals Library

An error has occurred in processing the XML document

An error occurred retrieving content to display, please try again.

Page not found (404)

Sorry - the page you requested could not be found.

Please choose a page from the navigation or try a website search above to find the information you need.

{{metadata.Title}}

{{metadata.Headline}}

An error has occurred in processing the XML document

{{author}}{{author}}{{($index < metadata.AuthorsAndEtalArray.length-1) ? ',' : '.'}}

An error has occurred in processing the XML document

An error has occurred in processing the XML document

{{metadata.Journal}} Volume: {{metadata.Volume}}, Issue:{{metadata.Issue}}, Published in {{metadata.PublicationDate | date:'MMMM yyyy'}}

https://dx.doi.org/{{metadata.DOI}}

Citation: {{author}}{{ (($index < metadata.AuthorsArray.length-1) && ($index <=6)) ? ', ' : '' }}{{(metadata.AuthorsArray.length <= 6) ? '.' : '' }} {{(metadata.AuthorsArray.length > 6) ? 'et al.' : ''}} {{metadata.Title}}. {{metadata.JournalShortName}} {{metadata.PublicationDate | date:'yyyy'}};{{metadata.Volume}}({{metadata.Issue}})

You might also be interested in:
{{classification.Category.Concept}}

Report Content

The full text of this issue is available as a PDF document from the Toolkit section on this page.

The full text of this issue is available as a PDF document from the Toolkit section on this page.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES

To assess the accuracy in diagnosing heart failure of clinical features and potential primary care investigations, and to perform a decision analysis to test the impact of plausible diagnostic strategies on costs and diagnostic yield in the UK health-care setting.

DATA SOURCES

MEDLINE and CINAHL were searched from inception to 7 July 2006. 'Grey literature' databases and conference proceedings were searched and authors of relevant studies contacted for data that could not be extracted from the published papers.

REVIEW METHODS

A systematic review of the clinical evidence was carried out according to standard methods. Individual patient data (IPD) analysis was performed on nine studies, and a logistic regression model to predict heart failure was developed on one of the data sets and validated on the other data sets. Cost-effectiveness modelling was based on a decision tree that compared different plausible investigation strategies.

RESULTS

Dyspnoea was the only symptom or sign with high sensitivity (89%), but it had poor specificity (51%). Clinical features with relatively high specificity included history of myocardial infarction (89%), orthopnoea (89%), oedema (72%), elevated jugular venous pressure (70%), cardiomegaly (85%), added heart sounds (99%), lung crepitations (81%) and hepatomegaly (97%). However, the sensitivity of these features was low, ranging from 11% (added heart sounds) to 53% (oedema). Electrocardiography (ECG), B-type natriuretic peptides (BNP) and N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptides (NT-proBNP) all had high sensitivities (89%, 93% and 93% respectively). Chest X-ray was moderately specific (76-83%) but insensitive (67-68%). BNP was more accurate than ECG, with a relative diagnostic odds ratio of ECG/BNP of 0.32 (95% CI 0.12-0.87). There was no difference between the diagnostic accuracy of BNP and NT-proBNP. A model based upon simple clinical features and BNP derived from one data set was found to have good validity when applied to other data sets. A model substituting ECG for BNP was less predictive. From this a simple clinical rule was developed: in a patient presenting with symptoms such as breathlessness in whom heart failure is suspected, refer directly to echocardiography if the patient has a history of myocardial infarction or basal crepitations or is a male with ankle oedema; otherwise, carry out a BNP test and refer for echocardiography depending on the results of the test. On the basis of the cost-effectiveness analysis carried out, such a decision rule is likely to be considered cost-effective to the NHS in terms of cost per additional case detected. The cost-effectiveness analysis further suggested that, if likely benefit to the patient in terms of improved life expectancy is taken into account, the optimum strategy would be to refer all patients with symptoms suggestive of heart failure directly for echocardiography.

CONCLUSIONS

The analysis suggests the need for important changes to the NICE recommendations. First, BNP (or NT-proBNP) should be recommended over ECG and, second, some patients should be referred straight for echocardiography without undergoing any preliminary investigation. Future work should include evaluation of the clinical rule described above in clinical practice.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES

To assess the accuracy in diagnosing heart failure of clinical features and potential primary care investigations, and to perform a decision analysis to test the impact of plausible diagnostic strategies on costs and diagnostic yield in the UK health-care setting.

DATA SOURCES

MEDLINE and CINAHL were searched from inception to 7 July 2006. 'Grey literature' databases and conference proceedings were searched and authors of relevant studies contacted for data that could not be extracted from the published papers.

REVIEW METHODS

A systematic review of the clinical evidence was carried out according to standard methods. Individual patient data (IPD) analysis was performed on nine studies, and a logistic regression model to predict heart failure was developed on one of the data sets and validated on the other data sets. Cost-effectiveness modelling was based on a decision tree that compared different plausible investigation strategies.

RESULTS

Dyspnoea was the only symptom or sign with high sensitivity (89%), but it had poor specificity (51%). Clinical features with relatively high specificity included history of myocardial infarction (89%), orthopnoea (89%), oedema (72%), elevated jugular venous pressure (70%), cardiomegaly (85%), added heart sounds (99%), lung crepitations (81%) and hepatomegaly (97%). However, the sensitivity of these features was low, ranging from 11% (added heart sounds) to 53% (oedema). Electrocardiography (ECG), B-type natriuretic peptides (BNP) and N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptides (NT-proBNP) all had high sensitivities (89%, 93% and 93% respectively). Chest X-ray was moderately specific (76-83%) but insensitive (67-68%). BNP was more accurate than ECG, with a relative diagnostic odds ratio of ECG/BNP of 0.32 (95% CI 0.12-0.87). There was no difference between the diagnostic accuracy of BNP and NT-proBNP. A model based upon simple clinical features and BNP derived from one data set was found to have good validity when applied to other data sets. A model substituting ECG for BNP was less predictive. From this a simple clinical rule was developed: in a patient presenting with symptoms such as breathlessness in whom heart failure is suspected, refer directly to echocardiography if the patient has a history of myocardial infarction or basal crepitations or is a male with ankle oedema; otherwise, carry out a BNP test and refer for echocardiography depending on the results of the test. On the basis of the cost-effectiveness analysis carried out, such a decision rule is likely to be considered cost-effective to the NHS in terms of cost per additional case detected. The cost-effectiveness analysis further suggested that, if likely benefit to the patient in terms of improved life expectancy is taken into account, the optimum strategy would be to refer all patients with symptoms suggestive of heart failure directly for echocardiography.

CONCLUSIONS

The analysis suggests the need for important changes to the NICE recommendations. First, BNP (or NT-proBNP) should be recommended over ECG and, second, some patients should be referred straight for echocardiography without undergoing any preliminary investigation. Future work should include evaluation of the clinical rule described above in clinical practice.

If you would like to receive a notification when this project publishes in the NIHR Journals Library, please submit your email address below.

An error has occurred in processing the XML document

 

Responses to this report

 

No responses have been published.

If you would like to submit a response to this publication, please do so using the form below.

Comments submitted to the NIHR Journals Library are electronic letters to the editor. They enable our readers to debate issues raised in research reports published in the Journals Library. We aim to post within 2 working days all responses that contribute substantially to the topic investigated, as determined by the Editors.

Your name and affiliations will be published with your comment.

Once published, you will not have the right to remove or edit your response. The Editors may add, remove, or edit comments at their absolute discretion.

By submitting your response, you are stating that you agree to the terms & conditions