Introduction: Heart failure (HF) guidelines aim to standardise patient care. Internationally, prescribing practice in HF may deviate from guidelines and so a standardised tool is required to assess prescribing quality. A systematic review and meta-analysis were performed to identify a quantitative tool for measuring adherence to HF guidelines and its clinical implications.
Methods: Eleven electronic databases were searched to include studies reporting a comprehensive tool for measuring adherence to prescribing guidelines in HF patients aged >= 18 years. Qualitative studies or studies measuring prescription rates alone were excluded. Study quality was assessed using the Good ReseArch for Comparative Effectiveness Checklist.
Results: In total, 2455 studies were identified. Sixteen eligible full-text articles were included (n = 14 354 patients, mean age 69 +/- 8 y). The Guideline Adherence Index (GAI), and its modified versions, was the most frequently cited tool (n = 13). Other tools identified were the Individualised Reconciled Evidence Recommendations, the Composite Heart Failure Performance, and the Heart Failure Scale. The meta-analysis included the GAI studies of good to high quality. The average GAI-3 was 62%. Compared to low GAI, high GAI patients had lower mortality rate (7.6% vs 33.9%) and lower rehospitalisation rates (23.5% vs 24.5%); both P=.05. High GAI was associated with reduced risk of mortality (hazard ratio = 0.29, 95% confidence interval, 0.06-0.51) and rehospitalisation (hazard ratio = 0.64, 95% confidence interval, 0.41-1.00). No tool was used to improve prescribing quality.
Conclusion: The GAI is the most frequently used tool to assess guideline adherence in HF. High GAI is associated with improved HF outcomes.