Decade-long trends (1986 to 1997) in the medical treatment of patients with acute myocardial infarction: A community-wide perspective
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BACKGROUND: Although there are an increasing number and variety of medications available for the treatment of patients with acute myocardial infarction (AMI), few data are available describing recent, and changes over time in, use of different cardiac medications in patients with AMI from a more generalizable, community-wide perspective. Moreover, it is unclear whether the demographic and clinical profile of patients receiving these agents is similar or varies according to the type of agent prescribed. METHODS AND RESULTS: The purpose of this study was to examine recent patterns and changes over a decade-long period (1986 to 1997) in the use of cardiac medications during the acute hospitalization and at the time of hospital discharge in metropolitan Worcester, Mass, residents (1990 census estimate, 437,000) hospitalized with confirmed AMI. There was a marked increase in the use of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, aspirin, beta-blockers, lipid-lowering agents, and thrombolytic therapy between 1986 and 1997. The use of calcium antagonists, lidocaine, and other antiarrhythmic agents declined over this period. Similar trends were observed in the use of these agents in hospital survivors at the time of hospital discharge. Patient age, presence of comorbidities, and AMI-associated characteristics influenced the use of these therapies; sex differences in the use of several of these medications were also noted. CONCLUSIONS: The results of this population-based observational study provide insights into changing prescribing patterns in the hospital treatment of patients with AMI. Despite encouraging increases in the use of several of these agents, considerable opportunities for increased utilization remain.