AHRQ study finds drop in heart disease problems
Adverse events for other conditions didn't fall
Patients being treated for heart attacks and heart failure are less likely to have reported adverse events, according to a study published in the January 23 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine,1 but patients with pneumonia or recovering from surgery didn't have similar declines.
The authors looked at more than 65,000 patients from 2005 and 2011. The adverse events studied fell into 21 categories, including pressure ulcers, falls, and drug reactions. The decline in the occurrence rate among heart attack patients was from 5% to 3.7%, and the rate per 1,000 hospitalizations fell from 401.9 to 262.2. For heart failure, the occurrence rate fell from 3.7% to 2.7%. Per 1,000 hospitalizations, it fell from 235.2 to 166.9. There was no meaningful change in rates for surgical or pneumonia patients.
Patients experiencing one or more adverse events — rates for this data point also fell for the two heart-related conditions, from 26% to 19.4% for heart attack and from 17.5 to 14.2% for heart failure — tend to have longer length of stay and a greater chance of dying, but the authors could not definitively correlate that to the actual adverse event or events. However, the authors estimate the improvements among the heart patients saved some 81,000 patients from harm.
- Wang Y, Eldridge N, Metersky ML et al. National trends in patient safety for four common conditions, 2005-2011. N Engl J Med. 2014 Jan 23;370(4)341-51.