Inpatient cardiac risk management program promotes lifestyle changes

NEW ORLEANS Can hospitalized cardiac patients learn how to reduce their risk of future heart events and put this knowledge to practical use? And will any therapeutic lifestyle changes (TLC) that are promoted in the acute hospital setting's "teachable moment" be sustained once the patient is back at home?

According to research presented today at the American College of Cardiology's 53rd Scientific Sessions Depression in New Orleans by Emory Heart Center cardiologists, there's reason to believe the answers to those questions is "yes".

The Emory researchers studied the results of the STARR (Steps to Achieve Risk Reduction) program at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta designed to improve patient knowledge of cardiac risk factors and promote TLC changes. "Despite significant evidence that secondary preventive strategies benefit patients with coronary disease, registry data and literature reviews suggest that a majority of the patients are still not in compliance with the American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology guidelines. The STARR program offers inpatient strategies to implement these guidelines and close the gap between physician knowledge and practice," says Laurence S. Sperling, MD., Director of Preventive Cardiology at Emory and co-author of the Emory STARR study.

Based on the most recent literature and AHA/ACC recommendations, the STARR program uses an algorithmic approach to identify individual cardiac risk factors (diabetes, smoking, hypertension, obesity, high saturated fat diets, low physical activity, high LDL, low HDL, high triglycerides, and high stress) and modulate them through a multifactorial team approach. Patients are educated about their individual risk factors and their management through classes, team education, and booklets. Patient education is reinforced with educational booklets, magnets, stickers, and patient contracts.

"Our pilot data suggests that the STA

Contact: Sherry Baker
Emory University Health Sciences Center

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