Evidence-based drug therapy in acute heart attacks

October 20, 2008

Patients who received treatment from noncardiologists and physicians with 29 or more years of experience had significantly lower use of evidence-based drug therapies compared with cardiologists and physicians with fewer than 14 years of experience, found a retrospective, population-based cohort study of heart attack patients.

The study http://www.cmaj.ca/press/pg901.pdf, led by Dr. Peter Austin from the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences Evaluative Sciences (ICES), looked at patients aged 65 and older in Ontario, Canada who had been discharged from hospital with a diagnosis of heart attack. The authors recommend developing new methods to improve prescribing practices and to target long-practicing physicians to standardize approaches.

In a related research study http://www.cmaj.ca/press/pg895.pdf, Dr. Austin and coauthors report that prescriptions for statins, beta-blockers and others are currently filled after discharge by nearly 80% of elderly heart attack patients. Use of these drugs has increased since 1992 but the rate of increase in their use varied across physician and hospital characteristics.
Contact for research: Kristine Galka, Media Advisor, ICES, 416-629-8493, kristine.galka@ices.on.ca for Dr. Peter Austin

Canadian Medical Association Journal

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