Risk stratification for sudden cardiac death in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy: Dutch cardiologists and the care of mutation carriers

J T Vehmeijer, I Christiaans, I M van Langen, E Birnie, G J Bonsel, E M A Smets, A A M Wilde
Netherlands Heart Journal 2009, 17 (12): 464-9
Background. Patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) and HCM mutation carriers are at risk of sudden cardiac death (SCD). Both groups should therefore be subject to regular cardiological testing - including risk stratification for SCD - according to international guidelines. We evaluated Dutch cardiologists' knowledge of and adherence to international guidelines on risk stratification and prevention of SCD in mutation carriers with and without manifest HCM.Methods. A questionnaire was sent to 1109 Dutch cardiologists (in training) containing case-based questions.Results. The response rate was 21%. Own general knowledge on HCM care was rated as insufficient by 63% of cardiologists. The percentage of correct answers (i.e. in agreement with international guidelines), on the case-based questions ranged from 37 to 96%, being lowest in cases with an unknown number of risk factors for SCD. A substantial portion of correct answers was based on the correct answer 'ask an expert opinion'. Significantly more correct answers were provided in cases with manifest HCM. There was little difference between the answers of cardiologists with different self-reported levels of knowledge, with different numbers of HCM patients in their practice or with different numbers of carriers without manifest HCM.Conclusion. Knowledge on risk stratification and preventive therapy was mediocre, and knowledge gaps exist, especially on HCM mutation carriers without manifest disease. Fortunately, experts are frequently asked for their opinion which might bring patient care to an adequate level. Hopefully, our results will stimulate cardiologists to follow developments in this field, thereby increasing quality of care for HCM patients and mutation carriers. (Neth Heart J 2009;17:464-9.).


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