Gap Between Clinical Practice and Guidelines: A National Survey of the Knowledge of Recommended Heart Failure Guidelines Among Chinese Physicians

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Objective:We investigated the current level of knowledge of Chinese heart failure (HF) guidelines among physicians, as a reference for the promotion and transformation of HF knowledge.Methods and Results:Physicians from 88 hospitals in 27 provinces of China completed our survey between July and December 2014. The questions covered the main points included in the Chinese HF diagnosis and treatment guidelines (2014). A total of 2146 physicians, aged 20 to 62 years (35.6 ± 7.6 years), completed the survey. The correctness rate of their answers to the 15 multiple-choice questions in the HF questionnaire was generally low (mean 32.6%). The mean correctness rate for 10 blank-filling questions about the target doses of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, angiotensin II receptor antagonists, and β-blockers was 42.5%. On the basis of their responses, physicians whose knowledge of the guidelines was “excellent,” “good,” “medium,” and “bad” accounted for 1.1%, 11.4%, 14.2%, and 73.4%, respectively. Physicians who possessed a higher level of qualifications had significantly greater awareness of HF guidelines than those with relatively low qualifications (P < .001). A statistically significant association was found between hospital level and adherence to treatment guidelines (P < .001). A significant difference was also observed among physicians in different practice scopes (P < .001).Conclusions:The survey found an obvious deficiency in physicians' mastery of fundamental knowledge about HF. There is a need to improve physicians' education about HF in China.

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