Prevention clinics help control heart fatal

By David Douglas

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - In 1999, UK researchers reported that patients with coronary heart disease who attended nurse-led prevention clinics had reductions in death and heart disease events at one year. In 2003, the same team reported that patients who switched to the clinics later on had “caught up,” to the point where there were no longer differences between the two groups.

Now, 10 years after the trial began, there is still no overall difference in death rates or heart disease problems between patients who initially attended the prevention clinics and those who switched to the clinics a year later, according to a report in the journal Heart. However, “an excess of deaths remains in the (original) control group at 10 years.”

Still, given that the death risk was increased in non-clinic patients before they switched, lead investigator Dr. Elizabeth K. Delaney, at the University of Aberdeen, and colleagues emphasize that it is better for patients to start attending these clinics as soon as they are diagnosed with heart disease.

The original study cohort consisted of 1343 patients. At an average follow-up of 10.2 years, there had been 254 deaths in the clinic group and 277 in the non-clinic group, resulting in death rates of 38 and 41 percent, respectively.

SOURCE: Heart, November 2008.

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