Acute coronary syndrome emergency treatment strategies: Improved treatment and reduced mortality in patients with acute coronary syndrome using guideline-based critical care pathways

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An acute coronary syndrome (ACS) emergency treatment strategies (ACSETS) critical care pathway (CCP), embedding guideline-based treatment, was evaluated in a 4-hospital system in Buffalo, NY, for its impact on ACS drug utilization, length of stay, and mortality.


The study used an observational design comparing pre- (n = 1,240) and post- (n = 1,709) ACSETS implementation cohorts followed over 1 year. Both myocardial infarction (MI) (59%) and unstable angina (UA) (41%) patients were studied. Multivariate regression analysis was used to analyze possible differences in major end points.


Appropriate ACS medication use was significantly higher in the ACSETS group in the first 24 hours and at discharge. In a subgroup of managed care health insurance patients (n = 884 ), prescription refills for statins, β-blockers, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, and clopidogrel were significantly greater in the ACSETS group up to and including 7 months after discharge, although at 7 months, actual refill rate was poor (30%-50%) for both groups. Length of stay was significantly reduced (HR 0.82 [0.72-0.90]). Inpatient mortality was not significantly reduced. One-year adjusted mortality was reduced significantly compared to non-ACSETS in the MI group (by 19%) (HR 0.81 [0.66-0.99]) but not in the UA group (HR 1.13 [0.71-1.79]).


ACSETS contributes to the proof of concept of critical care pathway (CCP) improvement of ACS care, as revealed by increased acute and chronic evidence-based use of medication, decreased length of stay, and, in the case of MI patients, decreased adjusted 1-year mortality. One-year mortality benefit was observed in MI but not UA patients.

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