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Interventions aim to improve health outcomes in patients
after blood flow to heart muscle is suddenly blocked
April 12. 2013 -- The American College of Physicians (ACP) today
unveiled two evidence-based interventions and two videos to improve
the health outcomes of patients in the first year following an
initial acute coronary syndrome (ACS) event such as heart attack
and unstable angina (chest pain or discomfort but no part of the
heart muscle dies), the most common indications of ACS.
About five million patients in the U.S. are at risk for ACS and
approximately 134,000 die from it every year. ACS results in almost
1.2 million hospitalizations annually with 70 percent of those from
heart attack and 30 percent from unstable angina.
ACP's Initiative on Acute Coronary Syndrome aims to bridge the
communication gap between clinicians and patients in the home or
hospital. Because care in the 12 months after an initial ACS event
is so important, the initiative focuses on improving health
outcomes in the first year utilizing four key interventions suited
to the varied needs of patients and clinicians: a patient guide, a
clinician support tool, and two videos.
"These easy-to-understand, straightforward materials in multiple
formats will facilitate communication between clinicians and
patients, helping to prevent instances of and improve treatment of
heart attack and unstable angina," said David L. Bronson, MD, FACP,
This reader-friendly educational guide is designed to enhance
patient-clinician communication by helping patients and caregivers
talk to the physician and other members of the health care team and
encouraging them to ask questions. The guide includes information
to help patients maintain a healthy heart with sections on
lifestyle modifications, medications and supplements, and recovery
issues, such as when to go back to work and when normal activities
can be resumed. Color coded sections further emphasize necessary
actions such as when to call 911 (red) or the doctor (yellow).
This decision support tool enables busy clinicians to make the
most of the first post-discharge office visit. Assessment
suggestions, such as medication adherence and lifestyle
modifications, include a corresponding intervention, such as
teach-back or reviewing approved physical activities like walking
In addition to these print materials, two patient
videos geared toward empowering patients to actively
engage in their care have been produced: "Discharge from the
Hospital" and "Medications after a Heart Attack."
"By working with experts in clinical practice, health care
quality, and patient advocacy to develop interventions that close
gaps in understanding and communication, ACP has developed
interventions to improve patient comprehension and management of
ACS," said Doron Schneider, MD, FACP, chief safety and quality
officer, Abington Health System and a member of the initiative's
National Steering Committee. "Improved patient understanding
coupled with evidence-based practice is essential to better health
Members of the National Steering Committee that developed the
interventions include experts from ACP, the American Academy of
Physician Assistants, the American Association of Critical-Care
Nurses, the American College of Cardiology, the American
Pharmacists Association, The Joint Commission, the Society for
Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions, and America's Health
The materials for acute coronary syndrome can be ordered at
by calling ACP Customer Service at 800-523-1546, extension 2600.
They are available for all physicians to order for their patients
ACP's Initiative on Acute Coronary Syndrome is funded by a grant
from Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
About the American College of Physicians
The American College of Physicians is the largest
medical specialty organization and the second-largest physician
group in the United States. ACP members include 133,000 internal
medicine physicians (internists), related subspecialists, and
medical students. Internal medicine physicians are specialists who
apply scientific knowledge and clinical expertise to the diagnosis,
treatment, and compassionate care of adults across the spectrum
from health to complex illness. Follow ACP on Twitter and Facebook.