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Trends in the hospital management of unstable angina
  1. R F Heller,
  2. H Powell,
  3. R L O'Connell,
  4. K D'Este,
  5. L L Lim
  1. Centre for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, The University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia
  1. Professor Heller, School of Epidemiology and Health Sciences, Medical School, The University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PT, UK (dick.heller{at}


STUDY OBJECTIVE To examine the hospital management of unstable angina (UAP) in 1996 and 1998, according to patient demographic variables and disease severity.

DESIGN Medical record review.

SETTING 37 hospitals across New South Wales, Australia, representative of the secondary and tertiary care hospitals in the State.

PARTICIPANTS All patients (or a random sample of patients) with UAP admitted to these hospitals during five months in 1996 and six months in 1998 (1872 and 1368 patients respectively).

MAIN RESULTS In the two years between 1996 and 1998, there was an increase in the use of β blockers and a corresponding decrease in the use of calcium channel blockers, as well as a decrease in the use of intravenous nitrates. Those aged 75 or more were roughly half as likely as those aged less than 65 to be prescribed heparin, aspirin and heparin, β blockers, intravenous nitrates, and only one third as likely to be offered coronary angiography in hospital. They were one and a half times as likely to be prescribed calcium channel blockers compared with the youngest age group. A similar pattern was seen for gender, where men were more likely than women to be given aspirin, aspirin and heparin, and coronary angiography, and less likely to be given calcium channel blockers. Those with a past history were less likely, and those with more severe disease were more likely than others to be given most interventions.

CONCLUSIONS In view of the low use of evidence-based management of UAP among women and the elderly, it would seem appropriate for disease management guidelines to target these groups.

  • unstable angina
  • management
  • trends

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  • Funding: the project was funded by the NSW Health Department and the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia.

  • Conflicts of interest: none.