New Measures to Aid Heart Disease, Hypertension

Blood pressure, heart disease management emphasize patient focused outcomes

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Often, physicians might only see cardiac patients when they are concerned about something, or are in pain. New measures aimed at controlling blood pressure and preventing heart disease before it begins might help keep them in the doctor's office a bit longer.

New performance measures designed to improve the quality of care for adults with high blood pressure and coronary artery disease have recently been released.

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 to provide doctors and hospitals with tools to measure and improve care quality, and provide an update to measures previously issued in 2005.

"Schedule regular heart screenings to keep in top shape."

The committee said that the new measures “break new ground” by examining whether cardiac risk factors are not only treated but also controlled to target levels, and by a emphasis on patient-focused outcomes.

Writing committee co-chair Dr. Joseph Drozda, Jr., director of Outcomes Research at Sisters of Mercy Health System in St. Louis, said the measures set attempt to resolve issues with blood pressure and lipid control measures, as well as the assessment of symptoms and management measures.

He said the measures represent a significant advance in cardiovascular performance measurement and address issues of importance to policy makers and patients.

Of the 10 performance measures, five were newly added and the remainder updated from those released six years ago. One previous measure -- the screening for diabetes in patients with CAD — was retired.

Measures approved for coronary artery disease includes blood pressure and lipid control, symptom and activity assessment, symptom management, tobacco use screening, cessation and intervention; antiplatelet and beta-blocker therapy, ACE inhibitor therapy and cardiac rehabilitation patient referrals for patients who have had an acute heart attack, a coronary artery bypass graft surgery, stenting, cardiac valve surgery or cardiac transplantation to an early outpatient cardiac rehabilitation program.

Hypertension Measure measures approved include blood pressure control in adults. Physicians are asked to achieve a blood pressure of less than 140/90 mm Hg and should prescribe two antihypertensive medications if that target is not reached, according to the measures.

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Review Date: 
June 16, 2011
Last Updated:
June 17, 2011