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Marked improvement in heart attack care seen in 33-hospital study

CHICAGO Doctors today know more than ever about what drugs, treatments and lifestyle changes can help heart attack patients live longer and healthier lives after they leave the hospital. But amazingly enough, as many as half of such patients may not get the prescriptions, tests and counseling they need.

Now, combined results from three studies conducted in 33 Michigan hospitals show its possible to improve the care provided to heart attack patients after admission.

By incorporating a system of reminders, standing orders and checklists into routine care, the study shows, hospitals significantly improved the percentage of patients receiving certain proven treatments and lifestyle counseling. After the system was put in place, the study shows, there were jumps in the use of individual treatments that ranged in size from 5.6 percentage points to 34.8 percentage points.

The new results come from the latest phase of a study sponsored by the American College of Cardiology and led by members of the Michigan ACC chapter under the direction of researchers at the University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center. They will be presented at the ACCs 52nd Annual Scientific Session meeting in Chicago. Note to editors: An ACC press conference will be held at 12:30 p.m. CT on 3/30.

These results leave no doubt that if hospitals and caregivers adopt tools that can help them improve care, and create systems to make sure those tools are used, they can improve their performance on quality indicators which means better care for patients, says study leader Kim A. Eagle, M.D., the Albion Walter Hewlett Professor of Internal medicine and chief of clinical cardiology at the U-M Health System.

The study, called ACC AMI GAP for the ACCs Acute Myocardial Infarction Guidelines Applied in Practice, seeks to find ways to help doctors and hospitals deliver the care outlined in heart attack care guidelines developed by the ACC and the American Heart Association.
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Contact: Kara Gavin
kegavin@umich.edu
734-764-2220
University of Michigan Health System
1-Apr-2003


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