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J Clin Nurs. 2009 May;18(9):1334-45. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2702.2008.02654.x. Epub 2009 Feb 12.

Does a telephone follow-up intervention for patients discharged with acute myocardial infarction have long-term effects on health-related quality of life? A randomised controlled trial.

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Centre for Clinical Research, Haukeland University Hospital, Bergen, Norway.



An earlier combined proactive and reactive telephone follow-up intervention for acute myocardial infarction patients after discharge from hospital showed positive effects after six months. The aim of the present study was to assess whether the intervention has long-term effects up to 18 months after discharge.


A prospective randomised controlled trial with 18 months follow-up.


The trial was conducted with 288 patients allocated to a telephone follow-up intervention group (n = 156) or control group (n = 132). The primary endpoint was health-related quality of life using the SF-36. Secondary endpoints included smoking and exercise habits, return to work and rehospitalisation due to chest pain.


There were significant improvements over time on most dimensions of health-related quality of life in both the intervention and control group to US norm population levels on most SF-36 dimensions and summary scores. The intervention group showed no overall significant improvement beyond six months in the physical or mental summary scores, but there was a significant effect for those aged 70 or above. Although there was a promising effect for rehospitalisation due to chest pain, no significant differences were found between the groups on the secondary endpoints after six months.


This study demonstrated that despite positive short-term effects at six months, the telephone follow-up intervention had no long-term effects on health-related quality of life or secondary endpoints. However, the potential for improvement beyond six months was less than anticipated reflecting a reduced morbidity among acute myocardial infarction patients.


Telephone follow-up after discharge from hospital is an easy implementable follow-up intervention enabling individualised provision of information and support in a time often experienced as stressful by patients. Our study indicates that six months is an adequate support period. Despite positive results six months after discharge no significant added long-term effects of telephone follow-up, compared to usual care were found in this study.

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