Coronary thrombolysis--clinical guidelines and public policy: results of an Ontario practitioner survey.
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The Ontario Medical Association (OMA) guidelines for intravenous thrombolysis in acute myocardial infarction were released in March 1988 and contributed to a government decision against special per-case funding to assist hospitals using tissue-type plasminogen activator (tPA). In October 1988, 1512 cardiologists, internists and physician-administrators who were OMA members were mailed a questionnaire seeking their views on the OMA guidelines and related issues. Of the 419 questionnaires (28%) that were returned, 392 contained usable responses. Among the respondents 268 (68%) had used thrombolytic drugs in the preceding 12 months; the mean number of cases was 10.6 (standard deviation 12.9). A strong or a mild preference for tPA over streptokinase was registered by 64% of the respondents; 28% had no preference. However, the self-reported ratio of actual streptokinase:tPA use was about 3:1, and 73% indicated that the government's funding policy had limited the availability of tPA in their hospital. The respondents were almost equally divided as to whether the policy should be changed. The guidelines were deemed helpful by 85% of the noncardiologists, as opposed to 52% of the cardiologists (p less than 0.005). OMA involvement in developing and circulating such guidelines was supported by 74% of the respondents and opposed by 18%; opposition was more likely to come from those who found the guidelines unhelpful (p less than 0.001). Support for involvement by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario was much weaker (supported by 32%, opposed by 62%). Overwhelming opposition to government involvement was evident.
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