All Publications

  • Equity in the Setting of Heart Failure Diagnosis: An Analysis of Differences Between and Within Clinician Practices. Circulation. Heart failure Gupta, A., Tisdale, R. L., Calma, J., Stafford, R. S., Maron, D. J., Hernandez-Boussard, T., Ambrosy, A. P., Heidenreich, P. A., Sandhu, A. T. 2024: e010718


    BACKGROUND: Timely heart failure (HF) diagnosis can lead to earlier intervention and reduced morbidity. Among historically marginalized patients, new-onset HF diagnosis is more likely to occur in acute care settings (emergency department or inpatient hospitalization) than outpatient settings. Whether inequity within outpatient clinician practices affects diagnosis settings is unknown.METHODS: We determined the setting of incident HF diagnosis among Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries between 2013 and 2017. We identified sociodemographic and medical characteristics associated with HF diagnosis in the acute care setting. Within each outpatient clinician practice, we compared acute care diagnosis rates across sociodemographic characteristics: female versus male sex, non-Hispanic White versus other racial and ethnic groups, and dual Medicare-Medicaid eligible (a surrogate for low income) versus nondual-eligible patients. Based on within-practice differences in acute diagnosis rates, we stratified clinician practices by equity (high, intermediate, and low) and compared clinician practice characteristics.RESULTS: Among 315 439 Medicare patients with incident HF, 173 121 (54.9%) were first diagnosed in acute care settings. Higher adjusted acute care diagnosis rates were associated with female sex (6.4% [95% CI, 6.1%-6.8%]), American Indian (3.6% [95% CI, 1.1%-6.1%]) race, and dual eligibility (4.1% [95% CI, 3.7%-4.5%]). These differences persisted within clinician practices. With clinician practice adjustment, dual-eligible patients had a 4.9% (95% CI, 4.5%-5.4%) greater acute care diagnosis rate than nondual-eligible patients. Clinician practices with greater equity across dual eligibility also had greater equity across sex and race and ethnicity and were more likely to be composed of predominantly primary care clinicians.CONCLUSIONS: Differences in HF diagnosis rates in the acute care setting between and within clinician practices highlight an opportunity to improve equity in diagnosing historically marginalized patients.

    View details for DOI 10.1161/CIRCHEARTFAILURE.123.010718

    View details for PubMedID 38847082

  • Clinical Impact of Routine Assessment of Patient-Reported Health Status in Heart Failure Clinic. Circulation Sandhu, A. T., Calma, J., Skye, M., Kalwani, N. M., Zheng, J., Schirmer, J., Din, N., Brown Johnson, C., Gupta, A., Lan, R., Yu, B., Spertus, J. A., Heidenreich, P. A. 2024


    The impact of routine clinic use of patient-reported outcome (PRO) measures on clinical outcomes in patients with heart failure (HF) has not been well-characterized. We tested if clinic-based use of a disease-specific PRO improves patient-reported quality of life at 1 year.PRO-HF was an open-label, parallel, patient-level randomized clinical trial of routine PRO assessment or usual care at an academic HF clinic between August 30, 2021, and June 30, 2022, with 1 year of follow-up. In the PRO assessment arm, participants completed the Kansas City Cardiomyopathy Questionnaire-12 (KCCQ-12) at each HF clinic visit and results were shared with their treating clinician. The usual care arm completed the KCCQ-12 at randomization and 1 year later, which was not shared with the treating clinician. The primary outcome was the KCCQ-12 Overall Summary Score (OSS) between 12-15 months post-randomization. Secondary outcomes included domains of the KCCQ-12, hospitalization and emergency department visit rates, HF medication therapy, clinic visit frequency, and testing rates.Across 17 clinicians, 1,248 participants were enrolled and randomized to PRO assessment (n=624) or usual care (n=624). The median age was 63.9 (interquartile range [IQR] 51.8-72.8), 38.9% were women, and the median baseline KCCQ-12 OSS was 82.3 (IQR 58.3-94.8). Final KCCQ-12 (available in 87.9% of the PRO arm and 85.1% in usual care [p=0.16]) median OSS scores were 87.5 (IQR 68.8-96.9) in the PRO arm and 87.6 (IQR 69.7-96.9) in the usual care arm with a baseline-adjusted mean difference of 0.2 (95% CI: -1.7 to 2.0; p=0.85). The results were consistent across pre-specified subgroups. A post hoc analysis demonstrated a significant interaction with greater benefit among participants with baseline KCCQ-12 OSS scores of 60-80 but not in less or more symptomatic participants. No significant differences were found in 1-year mortality, hospitalizations, ED visits, medication therapy, clinic follow-up, or testing rates between arms.Routine PRO assessment in HF clinic visits did not impact patient-reported quality of life or other clinical outcomes. Alternate strategies and settings for embedding PROs into routine clinical care should be tested.

    View details for DOI 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.124.069624

    View details for PubMedID 38583147

  • Uptake of sodium-glucose cotransporter-2 inhibitors in hospitalized patients with heart failure: insights from the veterans affairs healthcare system. Journal of cardiac failure Varshney, A. S., Calma, J., Kalwani, N. M., Hsiao, S., Sallam, K., Cao, F., Din, N., Schirmer, J., Bhatt, A. S., Ambrosy, A. P., Heidenreich, P., Sandhu, A. T. 2024


    The use of sodium-glucose cotransporter-2 inhibitor (SGLT2i) in Veteran Affairs (VA) patients hospitalized with heart failure (HF) has not been previously reported.VA electronic health record data were used to identify patients hospitalized for HF (primary or secondary diagnosis) from 01/2019-11/2022. Patients with SGLT2i allergy, advanced/end-stage chronic kidney disease (CKD), or advanced HF therapies were excluded. We identified factors associated with discharge SGLT2i prescription among hospitalizations in 2022. We also compared SGLT2i and angiotensin receptor-neprilysin inhibitor (ARNI) prescription rates. Hospital-level variation in SGLT2i prescription was assessed via the median odds ratio.A total of 69,680 patients were hospitalized for HF; 10.3% were prescribed SGLT2i at discharge (4.4% newly prescribed, 5.9% continued pre-admission therapy). SGLT2i prescription increased over time and was higher in patients with HFrEF and primary HF. Among 15,762 patients hospitalized in 2022, SGLT2i prescription was more likely in patients with diabetes (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 2.27; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 2.09-2.47) and ischemic heart disease (aOR 1.14; 95% CI: 1.03-1.26). Patients with increased age (aOR 0.77 per 10 years; 95% CI: 0.73-0.80) and lower systolic blood pressure (aOR 0.94 per 10mmHg; 95% CI: 0.92-0.96) were less likely to be prescribed SGLT2i, and SGLT2i prescription was not more likely in patients with CKD (aOR 1.07; 95% CI 0.98-1.16). The adjusted median odds ratio suggested a 1.8-fold variation in the likelihood that similar patients at 2 random VA sites were prescribed SGLT2i (range 0%-21.0%). In patients with EF ≤40%, 30.9% were prescribed SGLT2i while 26.9% were prescribed ARNI (p<0.01).One-tenth of VA patients hospitalized for HF were prescribed SGLT2i at discharge. Opportunities exist to reduce variation in SGLT2i prescription across hospitals and promote use in patients with CKD and older age.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.cardfail.2023.12.018

    View details for PubMedID 38281540

  • Patient Representativeness With Virtual Enrollment in the PRO-HF Trial. Journal of the American Heart Association Gupta, A., Skye, M., Calma, J., Din, N., Azizi, Z., Hernandez, M. F., Zheng, J., Kalwani, N. M., Malunjkar, S., Schirmer, J., Wang, P., Rodriguez, F., Heidenreich, P., Sandhu, A. T. 2024; 13 (2): e030903

    View details for DOI 10.1161/JAHA.123.030903

    View details for PubMedID 38226522

  • Evaluating the Implementation of Patient-Reported Outcomes in Heart Failure Clinic: A Qualitative Assessment. Circulation. Cardiovascular quality and outcomes Brown-Johnson, C., Calma, J., Amano, A., Winget, M., Harris, S. R., Vilendrer, S., Asch, S. M., Heidenreich, P., Sandhu, A. T., Kalwani, N. M. 2023: e009677


    Patient-reported outcomes (PROs) may improve care for patients with heart failure. The Kansas City Cardiomyopathy Questionnaire-12 (KCCQ-12) is a patient survey that captures symptom frequency, symptom burden, physical limitations, social limitations, and quality of life. Despite the utility of PROs and the KCCQ-12, the implementation and routine use of these measures can be difficult. We conducted an evaluation of clinician perceptions of the KCCQ-12 to identify barriers and facilitators to implementation into clinical practice.We conducted interviews with cardiologists from 4 institutions across the United States and Canada (n=16) and observed clinic visits at 1 institution in Northern California (n=5). Qualitative analysis was conducted in 2 rounds: (1) rapid analysis constructed around major themes related to the aims of the study and (2) content analysis with codes derived from the rapid analysis and implementation science.Most heart failure physicians and advanced practice clinicians reported that the KCCQ-12 was acceptable, appropriate, and useful in clinical care. Clinician engagement efforts, trialability, and the straightforward design of the KCCQ-12 facilitated its use in clinical care. Further opportunities identified to facilitate implementation include more streamlined integration into the electronic health record and comprehensive staff education on PROs. Participants highlighted that the KCCQ-12 was useful in clinic visits to improve the consistency of patient history taking, focus patient-clinician conversations, collect a more accurate account of patient quality of life, track trends in patient well-being over time, and refine clinical decision-making.In this qualitative study, clinicians reported that the KCCQ-12 enhanced several aspects of heart failure patient care. Use of the KCCQ-12 was facilitated by a robust clinician engagement campaign and the design of the KCCQ-12 itself. Future implementation of PROs in heart failure clinic should focus on streamlining electronic health record integration and providing additional staff education on the value of PROs.URL:; Unique identifier: NCT04164004.

    View details for DOI 10.1161/CIRCOUTCOMES.122.009677

    View details for PubMedID 37114990

  • Predictors of Incident HeartFailure Diagnosis Setting: Insights From the Veterans Affairs Healthcare System. JACC. Heart failure Tisdale, R. L., Fan, J., Calma, J., Cyr, K., Podchiyska, T., Stafford, R. S., Maron, D. J., Hernandez-Boussard, T., Ambrosy, A., Heidenreich, P. A., Sandhu, A. T. 2022


    BACKGROUND: Early recognition of heart failure (HF) can reduce morbidity, yet HF is often diagnosed only after symptoms require urgent treatment.OBJECTIVES: The authors sought to describe predictors of HF diagnosis in the acute care vs outpatient setting within the Veterans Health Administration (VHA).METHODS: The authors estimated whether incident HF diagnoses occurred in acute care (inpatient hospital or emergency department) vs outpatient settings within the VHA between 2014 and 2019. After excluding new-onset HF potentially caused by acute concurrent conditions, they identified sociodemographic and clinical variables associated with diagnosis setting and assessed variation across 130 VHA facilities using multivariable regression analysis.RESULTS: The authors identified 303,632 patients with new HF, with 160,454 (52.8%) diagnosed in acute care settings. In the prior year, 44% had HF symptoms and 11% had a natriuretic peptide tested, 88% of which were elevated. Patients with housing insecurity and high neighborhood social vulnerability had higher odds of acute care diagnosis (adjusted odds ratio: 1.22 [95%CI: 1.17-1.27] and 1.17 [95%CI: 1.14-1.21], respectively) adjusting for medical comorbidities. Better outpatient quality of care (blood pressure control and cholesterol and diabetes monitoring within the prior 2 years) predicted a lower odds of acute care diagnosis. Likelihood of acute care HF diagnosis varied from 41% to 68% across facilities after adjusting for patient-level risk factors.CONCLUSIONS: Many first HF diagnoses occur in the acute care setting, especially among socioeconomically vulnerable populations. Better outpatient care was associated with lower rates of an acute care diagnosis. These findings highlight opportunities for timelier HF diagnosis that may improve patient outcomes.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jchf.2022.11.013

    View details for PubMedID 36881392

  • Disparities in Adoption of New Diabetic Therapies with Cardiovascular Benefits. Diabetes research and clinical practice Vasti, E. C., Basina, M., Calma, J., Maron, D. J., Rodriguez, F., Sandhu, A. T. 2022: 110233


    Sodium-glucose co-transporter 2 inhibitors (SGLT2i) and glucagon-like peptide-1 agonists (GLP1a) have cardiovascular benefit, but adoption into clinical practice has been lagging. We aim to evaluate use of SGLT2i and GLP1a across socioeconomic strata (SES), medical risk as well as provider type.We conducted a retrospective cohort study of the prescription of SGLT2i or GLP1a within 12 months of clinic visit between January 1, 2018 and January 1, 2019 using de-identified claims data. The primary outcome was the composite of a medication fill of either an SGLT2i and/or GLP1a within 180 days of the index visit.Of the total cohort, 125,636 (15.8%) received either a GLP-1a or SGLT2i.The odds of prescription of either medication was 0.64 [p=0.006)] in patients with heart failure. Patients who identified as Black, Hispanic or Asian had lower odds of the primary outcome [Black: (AOR 0.81, p<0.000); Hispanic: (AOR 0.87, p<0.000); Asian: (AOR 0.83, p<0.000). The odds was higher for those treated by an endocrinologist versus primary care clinician [AOR 2.12, p<0.000)].Prescriptionof SGLT2i or GLP1a was lower among patients with cardiovascular co-morbidities and those who identified as Black, Hispanic or Asian. Further efforts to minimize these disparities should be pursued.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.diabres.2022.110233

    View details for PubMedID 36581144

  • Early Results of the Patient-Reported Outcome Measurement in Heart Failure Clinic (PRO-HF) Trial Sandhu, A. T., Zheng, J., Kalwani, N. M., Gupta, A., Calma, J., Amano, A., Johnson, C., Winget, M., Heidenreich, P. A. LIPPINCOTT WILLIAMS & WILKINS. 2022: E572
  • Impact of Patient-Reported Outcome Measurement in Heart Failure Clinic on Clinician Health Status Assessment and Patient Experience: A Sub-Study of the PRO-HF Trial. Circulation. Heart failure Sandhu, A. T., Zheng, J., Kalwani, N., Gupta, A., Calma, J., Skye, M., Lan, R., Yu, B., Spertus, J., Heidenreich, P. 2022


    Background: Clinicians typically estimate heart failure (HF) health status using the New York Heart Association (NYHA) class, which is often discordant with patient-reported health status. It is unknown if collecting patient-reported health status improves the accuracy of clinician assessments. Methods: The Patient-Reported Outcomes in Heart Failure Clinic (PRO-HF) trial is a randomized, non-blinded trial evaluating routine Kansas City Cardiomyopathy Questionnaire-12 (KCCQ-12) collection in HF clinic. Patients with a scheduled visit to Stanford HF clinic between August 30, 2021, and June 30, 2022 were enrolled and randomized to KCCQ-12 assessment or usual care. In this prespecified sub-study, we evaluated whether access to the KCCQ-12 improved the accuracy of clinicians' NYHA assessment or patients' perspectives on their clinician interaction. We surveyed clinicians regarding their patients' NYHA class, quality of life, and symptom frequency. Clinician responses were compared with patients' KCCQ-12 responses. We surveyed patients regarding their clinician interactions. Results: Of the 1,248 enrolled patients, 1,051 (84.2%) attended a visit during the sub-study. KCCQ-12 results were given to the clinicians treating the 528 patients in the KCCQ-12 arm; the 523 patients in the usual care arm completed the KCCQ-12 without the results being shared. The correlation between NYHA class and KCCQ-12 Overall Summary Score was stronger when clinicians had access to the KCCQ-12 (r=-0.73 vs. r=-0.61, p<0.001). More patients in the KCCQ-12 arm strongly agreed that their clinician understood their symptoms (95.2% vs. 89.7% of respondents; [OR 2.27; 95% CI: 1.32-3.87)]. However, patients in both arms reported similar quality of clinician communication and therapeutic alliance. Conclusions: Collecting the KCCQ-12 in HF clinic improved clinicians' accuracy of health status assessment; correspondingly, patients believed their clinicians better understood their symptoms. Registration: URL:; Unique Identifier: NCT04164004.

    View details for DOI 10.1161/CIRCHEARTFAILURE.122.010280

    View details for PubMedID 36334312

  • The Patient-Reported Outcome Measurement in Heart Failure Clinic Trial: Rationale and Methods of The PRO-HF Trial. American heart journal Kalwani, N. M., Calma, J., Varghese, G. M., Gupta, A., Zheng, J., Brown-Johnson, C., Amano, A., Vilendrer, S., Winget, M., Asch, S. M., Heidenreich, P., Sandhu, A. 2022


    BACKGROUND: Among patients with heart failure (HF), patient-reported health status provides information beyond standard clinician assessment. Although HF management guidelines recommend collecting patient-reported health status as part of routine care, there is minimal data on the impact of this intervention.STUDY DESIGN: The Patient-Reported Outcomes in Heart Failure Clinic (PRO-HF) trial is a pragmatic, randomized, implementation-effectiveness trial testing the hypothesis that routine health status assessment via the Kansas City Cardiomyopathy Questionnaire-12 (KCCQ-12) leads to an improvement in patient-reported health status among patients treated in a tertiary health system HF clinic. PRO-HF has completed randomization of 1,248 participants to routine KCCQ-12 assessment or usual care. Patients randomized to the KCCQ-12 arm complete KCCQ-12 assessments before each HF clinic visit with the results shared with their treating clinician. Clinicians received education regarding the interpretation and potential utility of the KCCQ-12. The primary endpoint is the change in KCCQ-12 over 1 year. Secondary outcomes are HF therapy patterns and healthcare utilization, including clinic visits, testing, hospitalizations, and emergency department (ED) visits. As a sub-study, PRO-HF also evaluated the impact of routine KCCQ-12 assessment on patient experience and the accuracy of clinician-assessed health status. In addition, clinicians completed semi-structured interviews to capture their perceptions on the trial's implementation of routine KCCQ-12 assessment in clinical practice.CONCLUSIONS: PRO-HF is a pragmatic, randomized trial based in a real-world HF clinic to determine the feasibility of routinely assessing patient-reported health status and the impact of this intervention on health status, care delivery, patient experience, and the accuracy of clinician health status assessment.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.ahj.2022.10.081

    View details for PubMedID 36309127