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Specialist nurses have 'better' knowledge of heart failure guidelines than GPs

Specialist nurses are ahead of GPs in their knowledge of chronic heart failure best practice, according to a survey.

Awareness of latest European Society of Cardiology heart failure guidance is higher among cardiac nurses and primary care nurses with an interest in cardiology than family doctors, the survey found.    

Revised guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of acute and chronic heart failure were published in May 2012.

Results of a survey, commissioned by pharmaceutical company Pfizer, found 83% of secondary care cardiac nurses and 51% of primary care nurses with a specialist interest in cardiology were aware of them, compared to 36% of GPs.

Around 93% of cardiologists said they were aware of the guidelines.

Michaela Nuttall, cardiovascular nurse specialist at Public Health Bromley, said: “All nurses have an essential role in the assessment, care and management of chronic heart failure patients.

“Specialist nurses are key to ensuring that the latest guidelines and research is shared with more general nurses either in the hospital, community or primary care setting, where together they can deliver real benefits to patients and their families,” she said.

Professor Martin Cowie, consultant cardiologist at the Royal Brompton Hospital in London, added: “Specialist heart failure nurses have a vital role in helping to implement current best practice, and can be a very important link between primary and secondary care.”

The survey was carried out between 29 April and 6 May. It involved 100 GPs, 70 cardiologists and 100 nurses – of which 71 were primary care nurses with a specialist interest in cardiology and 29 were secondary cardiac nurses.


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