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Am J Cardiol. 1999 May 1;83(9):1303-7.

Analysis of the degree of undertreatment of hyperlipidemia and congestive heart failure secondary to coronary artery disease.

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Medical Review of North Carolina, Cary, USA.

Erratum in

  • Am J Cardiol 1999 Nov 1;84(9):1143.


There is a lack of data evaluating the implementation of guidelines in the management of coronary artery disease (CAD) or congestive heart failure (CHF) in the outpatient setting. We analyzed an administrative data set from the Merck & Co. sponsored national Quality Assurance Program, a retrospective outpatient chart audit of 58,890 adult outpatients from 140 medical practices (80% cardiology only) in the USA with diagnoses of CAD and/or CHF identified from medical claims data. We determined the (1) frequency of lipid documentation and prescription of lipid-lowering agents in patients with CAD, (2) frequency of assessment of left ventricular function and prescription of an angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor in patients with CHF, and (3) predictors of medication prescription. Of the 48,586 patients with CAD, 44% had annual diagnostic testing of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol. Only 25% of these patients reached the target low-density lipoprotein cholesterol of < or = 100 mg/dl, and only 39% were taking lipid-lowering therapy, which was less among the elderly than in the younger patients. Of the 16,603 patients with CHF, 64% had diagnostic testing of left ventricular function, and 50% of patients were taking an angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor; 67% of patients received medication if they had documented systolic dysfunction. Significant predictors of medication prescription included diagnostic testing, younger age, history of myocardial infarction or coronary artery bypass grafting, hypertension, cardiology specialty, and geographic region. Thus, current practice patterns in the management of CAD and CHF are inadequate. Patient age, diagnostic testing, and practice environment influence medication prescription.

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