Feature Article

How can we improve secondary prevention after ACS?

Tom Briffa, Clara Chow, Alexander Clark, Julie Redfern
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With more people surviving acute coronary syndrome, the need for sustainable secondary prevention of coronary heart disease is increasing. Secondary prevention starts with guideline-recommended care before discharge from hospital, followed by an effective transition back into primary care and then evidence-based interventions, underpinned by regular clinical review and patient self-management.

Key Points

  • Evidence-based lifestyle changes and drug therapies are known to reduce the risk of further cardiovascular events in patients who have survived an acute coronary syndrome.
  • Secondary prevention strategies should be implemented before the patient is discharged from hospital and continued by GPs in the community.
  • Establishing a strong therapeutic alliance with the patient can help GPs promote a lifelong approach to secondary prevention measures.
  • Patient education about coronary heart disease, personalised interventions and strategies such as referral to a cardiac rehabilitation program can improve adherence to secondary prevention measures.
  • Increased use of Medicare chronic disease management items might support more systematic care for people living with cardiovascular disease.

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