Heart Patients Get More Appropriate Rx Treatment from Cardiologists

Ken Rankin
Published Online: Tuesday, March 1, 2005

Patients treated for congestive heart failure (CHF) by noncardiologists face a greater risk of not receiving lifesaving prescription therapy for their condition, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Health- System Pharmacy.

The drugs in question—beta-blockers, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEIs), and aldosterone antagonists—have all been shown to significantly decrease morbidity and mortality, and are among the medications recommended by the Heart Failure Society of America to treat CHF, hospital pharmacy leaders explained.

But in a study examining prescribing differences by medical specialty, researchers discovered that:

  • ACEIs were prescribed for 61% of patients upon discharge by cardiologists versus only 35% by noncardiologists
  • Beta-blockers were prescribed for 65% of patients treated by cardiologists versus only 32% by noncardiologists
  • Aldosterone antagonists were prescribed for 17% of patients upon discharge by a cardiologist versus only 7% by noncardiologists

Mr. Rankin is a freelance medical writer.

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