Thousands of lives would be spared if physicians prescribed beta-blockers for more people who have had heart attacks, according to a new study led by researchers at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF).
Providing beta-blockers to most people who have had heart attacks would save seven times more years of life by 2020 than will be saved through mammography screening of a similar-sized population every year over the next two decades, the researchers report in the December 6 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
Their study projects more than 4,000 lives saved from coronary disease and 3,500 heart attacks averted over 20 years at a reasonable cost simply by providing beta-blockers to those who are "eligible" among current heart attack survivors - about 92 percent of those with heart attacks.
"Most clinicians and other health professionals have known for ten years or more that beta-blockers can play a dramatic role in saving lives and sparing more heart attacks, but for a combination of reasons, the practice has not been widely adopted," said Kathryn A. Phillips, PhD, lead author on the study and associate professor of health economics and health services research in the UCSF clinical pharmacy department, School of Pharmacy.
"I hope this study proves to be an impetus to increase the use of beta-blockers for all those who can benefit from them."
Senior author on the study is Lee Goldman, MD, MPH, professor and chair of medicine at UCSF.
The research draws on a well-respected model of cardiac health disease in the U.S., known as the Coronary Heart Disease Policy Model, which incorporates national census data and the principal known health risk factors for heart disease. The model has been validated by comparing predicted mortality against actual mortality and has been shown to predict outcomes within two percent.
The National Center for Quality Assurance, which accredits managed care organizations, c
Contact: Wallace Ravven
University of California - San Francisco