International variations in the clinical, diagnostic, and treatment characteristics of emergency department patients with acute heart failure syndromes

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AimsResults from investigations in one area of the world may not translate to another if patient characteristics and practices differ. We examine differences in the presentation and management of emergency department (ED) patients with dyspnoea from acute heart failure syndromes (AHFS) between the USA, Western Europe, and Eastern Europe.Methods and resultsThe URGENT Dyspnoea study was a multinational prospective observational study of dyspnoeic ED patients with AHFS from 18 countries. Acute heart failure syndrome patients from the USA and Western and Eastern Europe underwent dyspnoea assessments within 1 h of the first physician evaluation. Patient characteristics, evaluation, and treatments were compared between geographical regions using analysis of variance and χ2 tests. Four hundred and ninety-three patients with AHFS met the inclusion criteria. Participants in the USA were more frequently non-white, younger, on chronic beta-blocker therapy, and with an ejection fraction ≤40% when compared with Eastern and Western Europe. Patients from Eastern Europe were more likely to present with de novo heart failure and have ischaemic electrocardiogram changes. Pulmonary oedema was more common on chest radiograph in Western Europe, but natriuretic peptide levels were elevated in all three regions. Diuretic use was similar across all the regions. Intravenous nitroglycerin was used more frequently in Eastern (32.8%) and Western Europe (24.4%) compared with the USA (2.5%).ConclusionInternational differences in AHFS presentations and management between regions suggest results from clinical trials in one region may not translate directly to another. These differences should be considered when designing trials and interpreting the results from clinical investigations.

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