LOS ANGELES (January 4, 1998) -- Seven active research protocols currently under way at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center are part of a new program that has set its sights on one of the largest single diagnoses in cardiology -- congestive heart failure. The seven clinical trials, many of which are randomized and study the effectiveness and dosages of various medications, are collectively one part of the medical center's Comprehensive Heart Failure program. The second component in this unique program involves making Cedars-Sinai cardiologists available to primary care and other physicians in the community in a consultative capacity. Through this two-pronged approach, researchers hope to identify at-risk patients much earlier when interventions are more effective and can often be less invasive.
According to one of the lead investigators, Americo Simonini, M.D., between 4.5 and 5 million people per year are diagnosed with congestive heart failure, and that number is expected to increase to 7 million per year by the year 2010. The cost last year alone, was a staggering $11 billion. Ninety-five percent of individuals with congestive heart failure are presently admitted to the hospital through the emergency department, and they require an average inpatient hospital stay of six to seven days.
By identifying at-risk patients much earlier, and initiating appropriate
treatment earlier, researchers hope to be able to stop the progression of heart
disease in these individuals, thereby enabling them to stay healthier, remain at
home and ultimately avoid some of the most invasive treatments such as surgery
or heart transplant. Such measures will not only result in a better quality of
life for the patient, but also in reduced costs for healthcare services. For
example, one component of the program is a 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week
pharmacy service where patients can call in when they need an adjustment to
their heart medication. At present, many patients make an emergency
Contact: Sandra Van
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center