Quality of Care
Use of Beta-Blocker Medications After a Heart Attack
The graph above shows VA medical center scores compared with non-VA hospital scores for the use of beta-blocker medication in patients who were diagnosised with a heart attack. The percentages represent the number of patients who received beta-blocker medication for six months after a heart attack. For this measure, a higher percentage indicates a higher quality of care, with 100 percent being the target.
What is this measure?
This measure looks at the number of patients18 years of age and older who were treated for a heart attack and who received beta-blocker medication for six months after discharge.
What are we measuring?
About half of heart attack survivors who are eligible for beta-blocker therapy do not receive it. According to results of large-scale clinical trials, beta-blockers consistently reduce subsequent coronary events, cardiovascular mortality, and all-cause mortality by 20 percent to 30 percent after a heart attack when taken indefinitely. This measure counts the number of patients who received beta-blockers for six months after having a heart attack.
Why is this important?
Test data reveal significant underuse of beta-blockers 180 days after a heart attack. There is evidence suggesting that around 2,900 to 5,000 lives are lost in the United States in the first year following a heart attack from under-prescribing of beta-blockers.