The Heart Failure (HF) service provides a single point of access for primary care to access advice, rapid assessment and management plans for patients with symptoms of HF.
The service is staffed by a HF MDT comprising HF nurse specialists, cardiology consultants, community cardiac nurses, cardiac technicians and palliative care specialists who work collaboratively to provide the care recommended by NICE.
Referrals should be made via the eRS single point of access. They will be triaged within 2 working days and a decision will be made on the need for and timing of echocardiography and subsequent review by the most appropriate team member.
Community echocardiograms should not be requested to diagnose HF.
Please refer all suspected cases via the single point of access service.
- Patients with suspected HF and NT-proBNP >400pg/ml
- Patients with an incidental diagnosis of HF on an echocardiogram showing left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) <50% within the last 12 months.
- Patients with an established diagnosis of HF with uncontrolled/worsening symptoms and NT-proBNP >400pg/ml (this helps determine the aetiology of current symptoms and risk-stratify the urgency of review needed)
- Please only refer patients with NT-proBNP <400pg/ml if persistent signs or symptoms of HF despite exclusion and optimisation of anaemia, thyroid disease, respiratory/renal/liver disease, nutritional state (including iron, B12 and folate) and fluid retaining drugs (calcium channel blockers, NSAIDs, steroids, glitazones, etc).
- Patients who are currently under a named cardiologist who is actively involved in managing their care. Please contact the consultant directly.
- Patients who are already under the community cardiac teams. Please contact the community team directly. They will liaise with the cardiologist in complex cases.
- Patients <16 years of age. Please contact the paediatricians.
Requirements for Referral
Blood tests as per “Heart Failure (Adults): Investigation” Order Set, which includes;
- NT-proBNP (unless echocardiogram within 12 months shows LVEF <50%)
- FBC, UE, LFT, calcium, HbA1c, lipids, TSH, immunoglobulins, electrophoresis, ferritin, iron saturation
- If NT-proBNP <400pg/ml, additional tests include CXR, spirometry, B12 and folate
GPs may be emailed with advice by a member of the service
Patients with NT-proBNP measurement >2,000pg/ml will be triaged for a 2-week echo + specialist review pathway.
Patients with NT-proBNP measurement between 400 and 2,000pg/ml will be triaged for a 6-week echo +/- specialist review pathway.
Patients with NT-proBNP <400pg/ml will be considered on a case-by-case basis if it can be demonstrated that other common causes for the patients’ symptoms have been excluded/optimised.
Date reviewed 05/07/2021
Next review due 05/07/2022
Sifter name Elizabeth Fell / Bridgitte Wesson
Contributors Dr Louise Melley – Assistant Specialist Cardiology RCHT