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Heart. May 2005; 91(Suppl 2): ii32–ii34.
PMCID: PMC1876345

Bridging the treatment gap: the secondary care perspective


Protocols and integrated care pathways can be valuable in the hospital care of patients with heart failure or left ventricular systolic dysfunction after acute myocardial infarction. A designated member of staff, often a specialist nurse, must be responsible for identifying patients suitable for management by the protocol and for ensuring that the protocol is adhered to. A new training scheme for "limited echocardiography" might enable specialist nurses to investigate left ventricular function within the first 24 hours of admission. Patients should be discharged from hospital as soon as they are out of danger. At present, they are often kept in hospital for process reasons. A "continuing care" clinic run by a specialist nurse, where patients can be seen daily after discharge until they are stabilised, is one way of bridging the gap between secondary and primary care. Communication between secondary and primary care needs to improve and same day discharge summaries are essential.

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Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Fonarow Gregg C. Strategies to improve the use of evidence-based heart failure therapies: OPTIMIZE-HF. Rev Cardiovasc Med. 2004;5 (Suppl 1):S45–S54. [PubMed]
  • Keeley Ellen C, Boura Judith A, Grines Cindy L. Primary angioplasty versus intravenous thrombolytic therapy for acute myocardial infarction: a quantitative review of 23 randomised trials. Lancet. 2003 Jan 4;361(9351):13–20. [PubMed]

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