Recent changes in the recommended treatments used for patients hospitalized for acute coronary syndromes, such as a heart attack, are associated with reductions in the rates of heart failure, stroke, heart attack and death, according to a study in the May 2 issue of JAMA.
Randomized trials have provided strong evidence for the effectiveness of pharmacological and interventional treatments in patients with ST-segment elevation (a certain pattern on an electrocardiogram) and non-ST-segment elevation acute coronary syndromes (NSTE ACS), leading to changes in practice guidelines. "However, the extent and time course of changes in clinical practice are uncertain, and it is unknown whether such changes are associated with improved outcome. Previous studies have documented substantial gaps between guideline recommendations and clinical practice. Thus, there is a clinical priority to determine the extent to which evidence is applied in practice, whether this is changing over time, and whether such changes are associated with improved outcomes," the authors write.
Keith A. A. Fox, M.B., Ch.B., F.R.C.P., of the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, and colleagues with the GRACE Study (Global Registry of Acute Coronary Events) analyzed data from 44,372 patients with an ACS to determine if changes in hospital management of patients with ACS are associated with improvements in clinical outcomes. The patients were enrolled and followed-up between July 1999 and December 2006 at 113 hospitals in 14 countries.
The researchers found that the use of pharmacological medications increased over the study period (beta-blockers, statins, angiotensin-converting enzyme [ACE] inhibitors, thienopyridines with or without percutaneous coronary intervention [PCI], glycoprotein IIb/IIIa inhibitors, low-molecular-weight heparin). Use of pharmacological reperfusion in patients with ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) declined by 22 percentage points, wher
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