Click on the icon on the upper right hand side for the article by Dror Harats, MD, Eyal Leibovitz, MD, Maximo Maislos, MD, Efrat Wolfovitz, MD, Tova Chajek-Shaul, MD, Eran Leitersdorf, MD, Dov Gavish, MD, Yariv Gerber, BEd and Uri Goldbourt, PhD for the HOLEM Study Group.
IMAJ 2005: 7: June: 355-359
Background: Hypercholesterolemia control status is lacking throughout the western world.
Objectives: To examine whether the treatment recommendations given to ischemic heart disease patients at hospital discharge are compatible with the guidelines of the Israeli Medical Societies and the U.S. National Cholesterol Education Program for coronary artery disease prevention; and to study the effects of brief educational sessions on the adherence of physicians with the guidelines.
Methods: We included consecutive IHD patients admitted to four central hospitals in Israel between 1998 and 2000. The study was conducted in two phases. In phase 1, we reviewed discharge letters to document treatment recommendations given to each patient. In phase 2 we educated the practitioners by reviewing the Israeli Medical Societies and the NCEP guidelines and the quality of their recommendations in phase 1, after which we reevaluated the discharge letters.
Results: The study included 2,994 patients: 627 in phase 1 and 2,367 in phase 2. Of the patients who needed cholesterol-lowering according to their low density lipoprotein levels, 37.4% were not prescribed such drugs at discharge (under-treatment group). This proportion was reduced by education to 26.6% (P < 0.001) in phase 2. Of the treated patients, 65.6% did not reach the target LDL goal in phase 1 (under-dosage group) as compared to 60.2% in phase 2 (P = 0.23). In phase 2 there was an increase in the percent of patients reaching LDL levels <130 mg/day (69.3% vs. 63.8% of patients prescribed medication, P = 0.01), but the percent of patients reaching LDL levels <100 was not different in phase 2 after adjusting for age and gender (the odds ratio for reaching target LDL was 1.16, with 95% confidence interval of 0.95–1.43).
Conclusions: Physician recommendations to IHD patients discharged from hospital were suboptimal. We documented a high proportion of under-treated and under-dosage patients. Brief educational sessions have a beneficial effect on the usage of statins; however, additional effort in guideline implementations is needed.