BACKGROUND - Few international studies prospectively compared evidence-based practices and health outcomes among congestive heart failure (CHF) cohorts from countries with different cultural and economic backgrounds.
METHODS - Patients consecutively admitted with congestive heart failure to tertiary care teaching hospitals in Brazil and in the United States (U.S.) were systematically evaluated using a structured data form. Follow-up data 3 months after discharge were obtained using chart review and telephone interviews.
RESULTS - U.S. patients were older (p < 0.01), had higher prevalence of ischemic etiology (p < 0.01) and less previous hospitalizations for congestive heart failure (p = 0.03) than Brazilian patients, but similar Charlson comorbidity scores (p = 0.54) and left ventricular (LV) function (p = 0.45). Prescription of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors at discharge was lower at the U.S. hospital (57% vs. 68%; p = 0.03), but beta-blockers prescription was higher (37% vs. 10%; p < 0.01). Length-of-stay was significantly shorter (5 [interquartile range, 3-9] vs. 11 [6-19] days; p < 0.001) and in-hospital mortality was lower (2.4% vs. 13%; p < 0.001) in the U.S. cohort, but fewer clinical events within 3 months after discharge were observed in Brazilian patients (42% vs. 54%; p = 0.02). Combined clinical outcomes within 3 months, including overall mortality and hospital readmission, were similar between cohorts (57% vs. 55%; p = 0.80). In multivariate analysis, hospital site remained significantly associated with health outcomes.
CONCLUSIONS - Medical practice and health-related outcomes were different between U.S. and Brazilian congestive heart failure patients. In order to improve management worldwide, potential factors (structural, cultural or disease-related) that might be associated with these differences need to be evaluated in future studies.