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Medical Groups Update Heart, Blood Pressure Care Guidelines
Date:6/13/2011

MONDAY, June 13 (HealthDay News) -- Patient-focused outcomes are emphasized in 10 updated performance measures for people with coronary artery disease and hypertension that were released Monday by a trio of major U.S. medical groups.

"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," Dr. Joseph Drozda Jr., director of outcomes research at Sisters of Mercy Health System in St. Louis, Mo., and co-chairman of the writing committee for the new measures, said in an American College of Cardiology news release.

"By adhering to the specifications called for in this measures set, entities operating such accountability programs can be assured of having high quality and clinically meaningful measures," he added.

The measures were released by the American College of Cardiology Foundation, the American Heart Association and the American Medical Association-convened Physician Consortium for Performance Improvement.

The coronary artery disease measures include:

  • Blood pressure control: Adults should obtain a blood pressure of less than 140/90 mm Hg. If that target cannot be reached, at least two antihypertensive medications should be prescribed.
  • Lipid control: Patients should achieve an LDL ("bad") cholesterol level of less than 100 mg/dL. If they can't reach that target, their doctor should document a plan of care to lower their LDL level, which includes at minimum the prescription of a statin.
  • Symptom and activity assessment: Doctors should evaluate patients' activity levels and the corresponding presence or absence of angina symptoms. Angina is chest pain or discomfort that occurs when the heart does not get enough blood.
  • Symptom management: For someone with angina, a doctor should document a plan of care
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