Reduction in heart failure events by the addition of a clinical pharmacist to the heart failure management team: results of the Pharmacist in Heart Failure Assessment Recommendation and Monitoring (PHARM) Study

Arch Intern Med. 1999 Sep 13;159(16):1939-45. doi: 10.1001/archinte.159.16.1939.


Background: The multidisciplinary approach to managing heart failure has been shown to improve outcomes. The role of a clinical pharmacist in treating heart failure has not been evaluated.

Methods: One hundred eighty-one patients with heart failure and left ventricular dysfunction (ejection fraction <45) undergoing evaluation in clinic were randomized to an intervention or a control group. Patients in the intervention group received clinical pharmacist evaluation, which included medication evaluation, therapeutic recommendations to the attending physician, patient education, and follow-up telemonitoring. The control group received usual care. The primary end point was combined all-cause mortality and heart failure clinical events. All clinical events were adjudicated by a blinded end point committee.

Results: Baseline characteristics were similar except for slightly higher age in the intervention group. Median follow-up was 6 months. All-cause mortality and heart failure events were significantly lower in the intervention group compared with the control group (4 vs 16; P= .005). In addition, patients in the intervention group received higher angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor doses as reflected by the median fraction of target reached (25th and 75th percentiles), 1.0 (0.5 and 1) and 0.5 (0.1875 and 1) in the intervention and control groups, respectively (P<.001). The use of other vasodilators in angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor-intolerant patients was higher in the intervention group (75% vs 26%; P= .02).

Conclusions: Outcomes in heart failure can be improved with a clinical pharmacist as a member of the multidisciplinary heart failure team. This observation may be due to higher doses of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors and/or closer follow-up.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors / administration & dosage*
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Drug Prescriptions / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Heart Failure / drug therapy*
  • Heart Failure / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • North Carolina
  • Patient Care Team*
  • Patient Discharge
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Pharmacists*
  • Program Evaluation
  • Survival Analysis
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vasodilator Agents / administration & dosage
  • Ventricular Dysfunction, Left / drug therapy*
  • Ventricular Dysfunction, Left / prevention & control


  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Vasodilator Agents