Study: Heart Failure Patients Have Better Outcomes With Cardiologist Over General Physician

Heart failure patients who were treated by an internist or family physician had a higher risk of 30-day and one-year mortality than patients who were treated by cardiologists, according to a study in American Heart Journal.

Researchers studied heart failure care by generalists — internists or family physicians — compared with care by cardiologists. While overall patients seen by generalists had a higher risk of mortality, when patients with "do not resuscitate" orders were excluded, the difference in risk was reduced.

In addition, patients seen only by a cardiologist or in combination with a generalist were more likely to undergo diagnostic procedures and have higher rates of certain evidence-based pharmacologic therapy.

The authors suggested the different outcomes for patients treated by a generalist compared with a cardiologist may be attributed to case-mix differences and differences in heart failure processes of care.

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