Semin Vasc Med 2003; 03(4): 425-432
DOI: 10.1055/s-2004-817692
THERAPEUTICS

Copyright © 2003 by Thieme Medical Publishers, Inc., 333 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001, USA. Tel.: +1(212) 584-4662

Treatment Algorithms and Critical Pathways for Acute Coronary Syndromes

Christopher P. Cannon
  • Cardiovascular Division, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA, and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
03 February 2004 (online)

ABSTRACT

Although numerous clinical trials have identified many advances in the treatment of patients with acute coronary syndromes (ACS), registries of clinical practice have identified that in clinical practice a large proportion of patients do not receive guideline-recommended therapies. In addition to development and dissemination of national guidelines, there is a need for specific tools to ensure that the guideline recommendations are implemented on a patient-by-patient basis. Better adherence to practice guidelines has been found to be associated with improved outcomes. Critical pathways and/or the process of Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) are means of trying to improve care. Critical pathways are standardized protocols that aim to optimize and streamline patient care, which usually involve standardized order sets, (or computerized ones), and/or simple pocket cards, reminders, or checklists of the appropriate therapies. Another key part of an overall CQI effort is to monitor data on performance-i.e. utilization of guideline recommended therapies. Several well-conducted studies, showing that particular use of critical pathways, can lead to improve quality of care.

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