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      Acute coronary syndrome patients admitted to a cardiology vs non-cardiology service: variations in treatment & outcome


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          Specialized cardiology services have contributed to reduced mortality in acute coronary syndromes (ACS).  We sought to evaluate the outcomes of ACS patients admitted to non-cardiology services in Southern Alberta.


          Retrospective chart review performed on all troponin-positive patients in the Calgary Health Region identified those diagnosed with ACS by their attending team. Patients admitted to non-cardiology and cardiology services were compared, using linked data from the Alberta Provincial Project for Outcomes Assessment in Coronary Heart Disease (APPROACH) registry and the Strategic Clinical Network for Cardiovascular Health and Stroke.


          From January 1, 2007 to December 31, 2008, 2105 ACS patients were identified, with 1636 (77.7%) admitted to cardiology and 469 (22.3%) to non-cardiology services. Patients admitted to non-cardiology services were older, had more comorbidities, and rarely received cardiology consultation (5.1%). Cardiac catheterization was underutilized (5.1% vs 86.4% in cardiology patients ( p < 0.0001)), as was evidence-based pharmacotherapy ( p < 0.0001). Following adjustment for baseline comorbidities, 30-day through 4-year mortality was significantly higher on non-cardiology vs. cardiology services (49.1% vs. 11.0% respectively at 4-years, p < 0.0001).


          In a large ACS population in the Calgary Health Region, 25% were admitted to non-cardiology services. These patients had worse outcomes, despite adjustment for baseline risk factor differences. Although many patients were appropriately admitted to non-cardiology services, the low use of investigations and secondary prevention medications may contribute to poorer patient outcome. Further research is required to identify process of care strategies to improve outcomes and lessen the burden of illness for patients and the health care system.

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          Randomised trial of cholesterol lowering in 4444 patients with coronary heart disease: the Scandinavian Simvastatin Survival Study (4S)

          Drug therapy for hypercholesterolaemia has remained controversial mainly because of insufficient clinical trial evidence for improved survival. The present trial was designed to evaluate the effect of cholesterol lowering with simvastatin on mortality and morbidity in patients with coronary heart disease (CHD). 4444 patients with angina pectoris or previous myocardial infarction and serum cholesterol 5.5-8.0 mmol/L on a lipid-lowering diet were randomised to double-blind treatment with simvastatin or placebo. Over the 5.4 years median follow-up period, simvastatin produced mean changes in total cholesterol, low-density-lipoprotein cholesterol, and high-density-lipoprotein cholesterol of -25%, -35%, and +8%, respectively, with few adverse effects. 256 patients (12%) in the placebo group died, compared with 182 (8%) in the simvastatin group. The relative risk of death in the simvastatin group was 0.70 (95% CI 0.58-0.85, p = 0.0003). The 6-year probabilities of survival in the placebo and simvastatin groups were 87.6% and 91.3%, respectively. There were 189 coronary deaths in the placebo group and 111 in the simvastatin group (relative risk 0.58, 95% CI 0.46-0.73), while noncardiovascular causes accounted for 49 and 46 deaths, respectively. 622 patients (28%) in the placebo group and 431 (19%) in the simvastatin group had one or more major coronary events. The relative risk was 0.66 (95% CI 0.59-0.75, p < 0.00001), and the respective probabilities of escaping such events were 70.5% and 79.6%. This risk was also significantly reduced in subgroups consisting of women and patients of both sexes aged 60 or more. Other benefits of treatment included a 37% reduction (p < 0.00001) in the risk of undergoing myocardial revascularisation procedures. This study shows that long-term treatment with simvastatin is safe and improves survival in CHD patients.
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            How to interpret elevated cardiac troponin levels.

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              Infectious diseases specialty intervention is associated with decreased mortality and lower healthcare costs.

              Previous studies, largely based on chart reviews with small sample sizes, have demonstrated that infectious diseases (ID) specialists positively impact patient outcomes. We investigated how ID specialists impact mortality, utilization, and costs using a large claims dataset. We used administrative fee-for-service Medicare claims to identify beneficiaries hospitalized from 2008 to 2009 with at least 1 of 11 infections. There were 101 991 stays with and 170 336 stays without ID interventions. Cohorts were propensity score matched for patient demographics, comorbidities, and hospital characteristics. Regression models compared ID versus non-ID intervention and early versus late ID intervention. Risk-adjusted outcomes included hospital and intensive care unit (ICU) length of stay (LOS), mortality, readmissions, hospital charges, and Medicare payments. The ID intervention cohort demonstrated significantly lower mortality (odds ratio [OR], 0.87; 95% confidence interval [CI], .83 to .91) and readmissions (OR, 0.96; 95% CI, .93 to .99) than the non-ID intervention cohort. Medicare charges and payments were not significantly different; the ID intervention cohort ICU LOS was 3.7% shorter (95% CI, -5.5% to -1.9%). Patients receiving ID intervention within 2 days of admission had significantly lower 30-day mortality and readmission, hospital and ICU length of stay, and Medicare charges and payments compared with patients receiving later ID interventions. ID interventions are associated with improved patient outcomes. Early ID interventions are also associated with reduced costs for Medicare beneficiaries with select infections.

                Author and article information

                BMC Health Serv Res
                BMC Health Serv Res
                BMC Health Services Research
                BioMed Central (London )
                16 May 2017
                16 May 2017
                : 17
                : 354
                [1 ]GRID grid.17089.37, Division of Cardiology and Department of Medicine, and Mazankowski Alberta Heart Insitute, , University of Alberta, ; Edmonton, Canada
                [2 ]ISNI 0000 0004 1936 7697, GRID grid.22072.35, Department of Public Health Sciences, , University of Calgary, ; Calgary, Canada
                [3 ]ISNI 0000 0004 1936 8200, GRID grid.55602.34, Division of Cardiology and Department of Medicine, , Dalhousie University, ; Halifax, Canada
                [4 ]GRID grid.17089.37, Division of Cardiology, , University of Alberta, ; 2C2 WMC, 8440 112 St, Edmonton, AB T6G 2B7 Canada
                Author information
                © The Author(s). 2017

                Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

                : 5 May 2016
                : 5 May 2017
                Funded by: FundRef http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/501100000028, Institute of Circulatory and Respiratory Health;
                Research Article
                Custom metadata
                © The Author(s) 2017

                Health & Social care
                acute coronary syndrome,myocardial infarction,specialist,generalist,non-cardiology


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