Physician Judgement vs Model-Predicted Prognosis in Patients With Heart Failure
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BACKGROUND: Previous evidence suggests that cardiologists and family doctors have limited accuracy in predicting patient prognosis. Predictive models with satisfactory accuracy for estimating mortality in patients with heart failure (HF) exist; physicians, however, seldom use these models. We evaluated the relative accuracy of physician vs model prediction to estimate 1-year survival in ambulatory patients with HF. METHODS: We conducted a single-centre cross-sectional study involving 150 consecutive ambulatory patients with HF >18 years of age with a left ventricular ejection fraction ≤40%. Each patient's cardiologist and family doctor provided their predicted 1-year survival, and predicted survival scores were calculated using 3 models: HF Meta-Score, Seattle Heart Failure Model (SHFM), and Meta-Analysis Global Group in Chronic HF (MAGGIC) score. We compared accuracy between physician and model predictions using intraclass correlation (ICC). RESULTS: Median predicted survival by HF cardiologists was lower (median 80%, interquartile range [IQR]: 61%-90%) than that predicted by family physicians (median 90%, IQR 70%-99%, P = 0.08). One-year median survival calculated by the HF Meta-Score (94.6%), SHFM (95.4%), and MAGGIC (88.9%,) proved as high or higher than physician estimates. Agreement among HF cardiologists (ICC 0.28-0.41) and family physicians (ICC 0.43-0.47) when compared with 1-year model-predicted survival scores proved limited, whereas the 3 models agreed well (ICC > 0.65). CONCLUSIONS: HF cardiologists underestimated survival in comparison with family physicians, whereas both physician estimates were lower than calculated model estimates. Our results provide additional evidence of potential inaccuracy of physician survival predictions in ambulatory patients with HF. These results should be validated in longitudinal studies collecting actual survival.