Organized program to initiate lifesaving treatment in hospitalized patients with heart failure (OPTIMIZE-HF): Rationale and design

Gregg C. Fonarow*, William T. Abraham, Nancy M. Albert, Wendy A. Gattis, Mihai Gheorghiade, Barry Greenberg, Chris M. O'Connor, Clyde W. Yancy, James Young

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

281 Scopus citations


Heart failure (HF) affects >5 million patients in the United States, and its prevalence is increasing every year. Despite the compelling scientific evidence that angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors and β-blockers reduce hospitalizations and mortality rates in patients with HF, these lifesaving therapies continue to be underused. Several studies in a variety of clinical settings have documented that a significant proportion of eligible patients with HF are not receiving treatment with these guideline-recommended, evidence-based therapies. In patients hospitalized with HF, who are at particularly high risk for re-hospitalization and death, the initiation of β-blockers is often delayed because of concern that early initiation of these agents may exacerbate HF. Recent studies suggest that β-blockers can be safely and effectively initiated in patients with HF before hospital discharge and that clinical outcomes are improved. The Initiation Management Predischarge Process for Assessment of Carvedilol Therapy for Heart Failure (IMPACT-HF) trial demonstrated that pre-discharge initiation of carvedilol was associated with a higher rate of β-blocker use after hospital discharge, with no increase in hospital length of stay. In addition, there was no increase in the risk of worsening of HF. Studies of hospital-based management systems that rely on early (pre-discharge) initiation of evidence-based therapies for patients with cardiovascular disease have also found increases in post-discharge use of therapy and a reduction in the rates of mortality and hospitalization. On the basis of these pivotal studies, the Organized Program to Initiate Lifesaving Treatment in Hospitalized Patients with Heart Failure (OPTIMIZE-HF) program is designed to improve medical care and education of hospitalized patients with HF and accelerate the initiation of evidence-based HF guideline recommended therapies by administering them before hospital discharge. A registry component, planned as the most comprehensive database of the hospitalized HF population focusing on admission to discharge and 60- to 90-day follow-up, is designed to evaluate the demographic, pathophysiologic, clinical, treatment, and outcome characteristics of patients hospitalized with HF. The ultimate aim of this program is to improve the standard of HF care in the hospital and outpatient settings and increase the use of evidence-based therapeutic strategies to save lives.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)43-51
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican heart journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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