Prescribing for chronic heart failure in Europe: does the country make the difference? A European survey

H. B. Sturm*, W. H. van Gilst, N. Veeger, F. M. Haaijer-Ruskamp

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Purpose International differences in prescribing patterns for chronic heart failure (CHF) have been demonstrated repeatedly. It is not clear whether these differences arise entirely from patient characteristics or factors related to the country itself, such as health care systems or culture. We aim to assess the role of countries in this international variation, aside from the role of patient characteristics.

Methods In this European primary care practice survey (from 1999/2000) 11062 CHF patients from 14 countries were included. The influence of country (corrected for patient characteristics) on prescribed drug regimes was assessed by multinomial logistical regression.

Results Prescribing of guideline-recommended drug regimes ranged from 28.1% in Turkey to 61.8% in Hungary. Including additional regimes justifiable by patients' co-morbidities, increased overall 'rational' prescribing by 11%, but differences among countries remained similar. Multivariate analysis for one-drug and two-drug regimes explained between 35% and 42% of the total variance, country contributed 7%-8% (p <0.005). Countries determined the number of drugs used and the likelihood of individual drug regimes. For example, in Czech Republic digoxin alone was more likely to be given than the recommended ACE-inhibitors (OR: 3.45; 95%CI: 2.56-4.64), while the combination of digoxin with ACE-inhibitors was as likely as the recommended combination of ACE-inhibitors and beta-blockers (OR: 1.17; 95%CI: 0.88-1.55).

Conclusion Country of residence clearly influenced prescribed drug volume and choice of drug regimes. Therefore, optimal CHF management cannot be achieved without considering country specific factors. It remains to be established which factors within health-care systems are responsible for these effects. Copyright (c) 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)96-103
Number of pages8
JournalPharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan-2007


  • chronic heart failure
  • Europe
  • quality of care
  • prescribing
  • primary care
  • delivery of health care
  • European survey

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