Shorter heart health programs just as effective in saving lives

Aug 03, 2007

Secondary prevention programs for coronary heart disease that contain less than 10 hours contact with health professionals and those provided by family doctors are just as effective in saving lives as more expensive, longer and more specialized hospital-based alternatives, according to cardiovascular researchers at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada.

Dr. Alexander Clark, an associate professor in the U of A Faculty of Nursing and Alberta Heritage Investigator, is lead author on an article published in the European Journal of Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation.

The study presents the results of a systematic review of 46 randomized trials – all the published trials of secondary prevention programs in the English language. The programs collectively improve life expectancy and reduce hospitalizations. However, those that have fewer than 10 hours of contact time, are based in family care settings and use non-specialist family doctors and nurses, show an equal mortality benefit to longer, specialist-led programs.

The findings have a great impact on health care policy and funding, Clark said. “As the shorter and more generalist programs are as effective at saving patients’ lives, these offer an attractive and highly efficient alternative to longer, more costly, and often less accessible hospital programs. As most programs have poor access, contain more than 50 hours contact with professionals, and heart disease affects more people in the world than any other disease, the implications of these findings for patients and health care costs are major.”

The authors are careful to point out that participants in the studies they analyzed tended to be less complicated and younger.

“While those with more complicated conditions remain best served by specialist support services, the findings indicate that patients who have less complex heart disease can get equal benefit from shorter programs provided by local health professionals in their communities,” Clark said. “Enrolment in longer programs provided by specialists can then be better targeted to those with more complicated disease.”

Coronary heart disease remains the single biggest cause of death in the world and affects more than 20 million North Americans. Health Canada estimates the total cost of cardiovascular diseases on the health sector of the Canadian economy is more than $18.4 billion (11.6 per cent of the total cost of all illnesses). In the United States, costs are estimated to exceed $111.8 billion US per annum.

Source: University of Alberta

Explore further: What to do with kidneys from older deceased donors?

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Fitness app connects exercisers to experts

Mar 24, 2015

Can advanced networking and next-generation applications help solve some of our nation's most pressing health problems? Can mobile devices and high-speed Internet be used to improve our health and well-being? ...

IBM's 'Jeopardy!' champ ventures to new worlds

Mar 13, 2015

IBM Watson initially won fame as the artificially intelligent computer system that won $1 million for whipping former "Jeopardy!" champs Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter on the televised game show in 2011.

Move it or lose it: One-year mission video miniseries

Mar 12, 2015

Have you ever noticed after lying in bed sick for a few days that standing upright took you a moment to regain your balance? Or perhaps you have an aging grandparent who spends more time lying in bed than ...

Recommended for you

Obese British man in court fight for surgery

Jul 11, 2011

A British man weighing 22 stone (139 kilograms, 306 pounds) launched a court appeal Monday against a decision to refuse him state-funded obesity surgery because he is not fat enough.

2008 crisis spurred rise in suicides in Europe

Jul 08, 2011

The financial crisis that began to hit Europe in mid-2008 reversed a steady, years-long fall in suicides among people of working age, according to a letter published on Friday by The Lancet.

New food labels dished up to keep Europe healthy

Jul 06, 2011

A groundbreaking deal on compulsory new food labels Wednesday is set to give Europeans clear information on the nutritional and energy content of products, as well as country of origin.

Overweight men have poorer sperm count

Jul 04, 2011

Overweight or obese men, like their female counterparts, have a lower chance of becoming a parent, according to a comparison of sperm quality presented at a European fertility meeting Monday.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.