Adherence to evidence-based guidelines for heart failure in physicians and their patients: lessons from the Heart Failure Adherence Retention Trial (HART)

Congest Heart Fail. Mar-Apr 2012;18(2):73-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1751-7133.2011.00263.x. Epub 2011 Nov 3.


The Heart Failure Adherence and Retention Trial (HART) provided an opportunity to determine adherence to evidence-based guidelines (EBG) in patients with heart failure (HF). Ten hospitals were the source of 692 patients with HF (EF < 40%). Physicians of patients with HF were classified as adherent to EBG if the patient chart audit showed they were on a beta-blocker, ACE-inhibitor (ACE-I), or angiotensin receptor blocker (ARB). Patients were classified as adherent to EBG if MEMS pill caps were used appropriately more than 80% of the time. Sixty-three percent of physicians prescribed evidence-based medications that were adherent to clinical practice guidelines. New York Heart Association (NYHA) III patients were less likely to be adherent (P < 0.001), as were those with renal disease (P < 0.001) and asthmatics (P < 0.001). Nonadherent physicians were less likely to treat patients with beta-blockers (39% vs 98%, P < 0.001) and ACE-I or ARBs (71% vs 98% P < 0.001). Thirty-seven percent of patients prescribed evidence-based therapy failed to use the MEMS pill cap bottles appropriately and were more likely a minority or higher NYHA class. Adherence to evidence-based therapy is less than optimal in HF patients based on a combination of both physician and patient nonadherence.

MeSH terms

  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists / therapeutic use
  • Angiotensin Receptor Antagonists / therapeutic use
  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Chicago
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Evidence-Based Medicine / methods*
  • Female
  • Guideline Adherence*
  • Heart Failure / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Medication Adherence / statistics & numerical data*
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Patient Compliance
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic*
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / statistics & numerical data*


  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists
  • Angiotensin Receptor Antagonists
  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors