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National Progress; Personal Losses

Peter Rastello
In the August 18, 2014 edition of Circulation, major progress was reported on the improvement of outcomes for patients with acute MI and stroke.  The research team led by Harlan M. Krumholz, MD, at the Yale University School of Medicine reviewed Medicare fee-for-service data from the 12-year period 1999 to 2011.


Hospitalization rates declined:

  • MI by 38%
  • Unstable angina by 83.8%
  • Heart failure by 30.5%
  • Ischemic stroke by 33.6%
  • Other cardiovascular conditions by 10.5%


30-Day mortality rates declined:

  • MI by 29.4%
  • Unstable angina by 13.1%
  • Heart failure by 16.4%
  • Ischemic stroke by 4.7%


One-year mortality rates declined:

  • MI by 23.4%
  • Unstable angina by 21.1%
  • Heart failure by 13.0%
  • Ischemic stroke by 13.1%


Mean length of stay for cardiovascular admissions also declined across the board.


The report states that progress came from efforts to improve outcomes, the impact of changes in quality processes, raised awareness of treatment options, patient lifestyle changes, changes in medications and other factors.


All of this is very good news.  CFA is dedicated to its work in the cardiovascular field.  We proudly state that we have had the opportunity to positively impact the quality, accessibility and scope of cardiovascular care available to as much as 25% of the U.S. population working with our clients throughout the U.S.  As encouraging as this news is, national statistics are just numbers on a page and always tempered by both local circumstance and personal experience.


Recently, a great friend of the CFA team lost his battle with heart disease.  This loss was sudden and unexpected.  He received the best of care, but it just wasn’t enough.  As Dr. Krumholz stated in the news release, “There is still more work to do as heart disease and stroke combined remain the leading cause of death and disability…”  There is indeed more work to do.


As always, CFA invites your comments, suggestions and questions.

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