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Bridging the treatment gap: the primary care perspective
  1. A Fuat
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr Ahmet Fuat
    Carmel Medical Practice, Nunnery Lane, Darlington DL3 8SQ, UK;


The Darlington heart failure service model, part of the South Durham Heart Failure Network, was devised to overcome barriers to accurate diagnosis and effective management of heart failure. It involves rapid diagnosis of left ventricular systolic dysfunction (LVSD) and ongoing heart failure management. A weekly one stop diagnostic clinic, run by a general practitioner (GP) specialist and a heart failure nurse, is jointly funded by the primary care trust and the South Durham NHS Trust. If LVSD is confirmed, a management plan is formulated which includes patient education and initiation of evidence based treatment. The heart failure nursing service is invaluable in bridging the gap between primary and secondary care. Local guidelines, together with continuing education of GPs and practice nurses, and the new General Medical Services contract, should further increase the uptake of evidence based treatments at target doses.

  • ACE, angiotensin converting enzyme
  • BNP, B-type natriuretic peptide
  • CHARM, candesartan in heart failure assessment of reduction in mortality and morbidity
  • CHD, coronary heart disease
  • GMS, General Medical Services
  • GP, general practitioner
  • LVSD, left ventricular systolic dysfunction
  • MI, myocardial infarction
  • MINAP, Myocardial Infarction National Audit Project
  • NSF, National Service Framework
  • NT-proBNP, N terminal pro B-type natriuretic peptide
  • PCT, primary care trust
  • heart failure
  • myocardial infarction

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