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Keywords

 

Authors

  1. Szekendi, Marilyn K. RN, MSN

Abstract

Within the last decade, health care providers have seen the emergence of numerous patient care guidelines that can be used to prevent or manage specific medical conditions. The American College of Cardiology (ACC) and American Heart Association (AHA) have issued guidelines for the management of patients with acute myocardial infarction (AMI). In November of 2002, at the annual scientific session of the AHA, researchers presented the results of the first study to show a direct relationship between inpatient mortality and the level of a hospital's compliance with these guidelines. It is hoped that this evidence of a reduction in AMI patient mortality will provide an incentive for all hospitals to improve their adherence to the ACC/AHA AMI guidelines.

 

Within the last decade, health care providers have seen the emergence of numerous patient care guidelines that can be used to prevent or manage specific medical conditions. Guidelines are developed by panels of health care professionals on the basis of critical review and synthesis of published scientific literature, and, therefore, reflect the prevailing state of knowledge in all aspects of diagnosis and treatment. Guidelines are intended to assist clinicians in providing quality care to patients. To this end, at the annual scientific session of the American Heart Association (AHA) in November 2002, Peterson et al presented the results of the first study to show that acute myocardial infarction (AMI) death rates were lower in hospitals that followed the American College of Cardiology (ACC)/AHA Guidelines for the Management of Patients With Acute Myocardial Infarction. 1-5 This important finding was highlighted by the AHA as 1 of the top 10 research advances of 2002. 6 The purpose of this article is to briefly review the ACC/AHA AMI guidelines and to present the evidence of the efficacy of guideline compliance in improving patient outcomes.