Information for this blog post was taken from an article on US News. To read the original piece in its entirety, click here.
Measures released by the American College of Cardiology Foundation, the American Heart Association and the American Medical Association have been put into place to bring coronary artery disease and hypertension practitioners up to date.
The last revision to the heart disease guidelines was made in 2005.
Dr. Joseph Drozda Jr., one of the chairmen responsible for the revision says, “These measures are primarily intended for the use of individual practitioners and group practices in their efforts to improve the care of patients with hypertension and those with stable coronary disease.” The changes will serve patients better with higher quality and more meaningful procedures in place.
The measures affecting coronary artery procedure include:
- Blood pressure control: If a level under 140/90 mm Hg cannot be reached in an adult, two or more antihypertensive medications should be prescribed.
- Lipid control: LDL, or “bad cholesterol,” should be lower than 100 mg/dL in adults. If they cannot achieve that, a doctor will need to create a plan to lower LDL. The prescription of a statin will be necessary in such a case.
- Symptom and activity assessment: Angina is chest pain or discomfort that occurs when the heart does not get enough blood. Doctors should be asking patients about activity levels and checking low activity patients for signs of angina. If angina is discovered, then an activity plan will be necessary.
- Tobacco use: Patients should be screened for tobacco use and should receive tobacco-cessation counseling, if needed.
- Antiplatelet therapy: Physicians should prescribe aspirin or clopidogrel.
- Beta-blocker therapy: Therapy is needed for people with prior myocardial infarction or a left ventricular ejection fraction of less than 40 percent.
- ACE inhibitor/ARB therapy: This should be prescribed for people with diabetes or a left ventricular ejection fraction of less than 40 percent.
- Cardiac rehabilitation referral: Early referrals should be made for people who’ve had an acute heart attack, coronary artery bypass graft surgery, stenting, cardiac valve surgery or a heart transplant.
As far as hypertension goes, the following information is up to date:
- Blood pressure control: Patients should have a blood pressure of less than 140/90 mm Hg. If their blood pressure is higher, at least two antihypertensive medications should be prescribed.
While the updates are not revolutionary in practice, it is important that you speak with your physician to ensure that current guidelines are being followed for the highest quality care. More on coronary heart disease can be found at the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.