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Am Heart J. 2011 Oct;162(4):700-707.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.ahj.2011.07.027.

Cluster-randomized trial to evaluate the effects of a quality improvement program on management of non-ST-elevation acute coronary syndromes: The European Quality Improvement Programme for Acute Coronary Syndromes (EQUIP-ACS).

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  • 1Clinical Trials and Evaluation Unit, Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Foundation Trust, London, United Kingdom.



Registries have shown that quality of care for acute coronary syndromes (ACS) often falls below the standards recommended in professional guidelines. Quality improvement (QI) is a strategy to improve standards of clinical care for patients, but the efficacy of QI for ACS has not been tested in randomized trials.


We undertook a prospective, cluster-randomized, multicenter, multinational study to evaluate the efficacy of a QI program for ACS. Participating centers collected data on consecutive admissions for non-ST-elevation ACS for 4 months before the QI intervention and 3 months after. Thirty-eight hospitals in France, Italy, Poland, Spain, and the United Kingdom were randomized to receive the QI program or not, 19 in each group. We measured 8 in-hospital quality indicators (risk stratification, coronary angiography, anticoagulation, β-blockers, statins, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, and clopidogrel loading and maintenance) before and after the intervention and compared composite changes between the QI and non-QI groups.


A total of 2604 patients were enrolled. The absolute overall change in use of quality indicators in the QI group was 8.5% compared with 0.8% in the non-QI group (odds ratio for achieving a quality indicator in QI versus non-QI 1.66, 95% CI 1.43-1.94; P < .001). The main changes were observed in the use of risk stratification and clopidogrel loading dose.


The QI strategy resulted in a significant improvement in the quality indicators measured. This type of QI intervention can lead to useful changes in health care practice for ACS in a wide range of settings.

Copyright © 2011 Mosby, Inc. All rights reserved.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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