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Little evidence exists to support pharmacotherapeutic strategies for heart failure management in paediatrics. A recent Europe-wide survey suggests that this translates into substantial variability in clinical practice.
To conduct a formal discussion among an expert group of paediatric cardiology physicians on controversial aspects regarding the pharmacotherapy of children heart failure, facilitate consensus, and highlight areas of agreement and disagreement.
A two-round modified Delphi process was conducted between July and August 2015. Topics addressed were predominantly selected from the results of a previous Europe-wide survey. Fourteen statements were presented for discussion grouped under three categories; Angiotensin-converting-enzyme-inhibitors: Considerations for optimal dosage; Angiotensin-converting-enzyme-inhibitors for the management of CHDs; Neurohumoral antagonists for the management of dilated cardiomyopathy-related heart failure.
A total of 13 paediatricians dedicated to cardiology from across Europe and the United States of America completed the study; of them, 92% had a working experience in the field of more than 10 years and were working in a specific paediatric cardiology unit. Agreement on the acceptance/rejection of 11 statements was achieved. Results show agreement on the importance of a set of topics relevant to the standardisation of the therapy as well as consensus upon specific therapeutic attitudes.
We have found areas of common thinking and motivation, which can provide a means of triggering scientific collaboration. Our results might also contribute to disseminate available paediatric evidence and promote reducing unjustified variability in everyday practice. Until solid evidence is available, other research methods can contribute to advancing the goal of safe and effective paediatric heart failure pharmacotherapy.
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