News

GP visits lower risk of hospitalisation and death following a heart attack


Amanda Lyons


10/12/2018 1:53:32 PM

A report from the AIHW has found that regular GP visits can keep patients with coronary heart disease away from the emergency department.

The AIHW report has found that regular and early visits with the GP after hospital discharge for coronary heart disease reduce risk of re-hospitalisation and death.
The AIHW report has found that regular and early visits with the GP after hospital discharge for coronary heart disease reduce risk of re-hospitalisation and death.

Regular contact with a GP in the aftermath of a patient’s hospital admission following coronary heart disease (CHD) has a significantly protective effect, according to an Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) report.
 
‘Even after accounting for all other factors, the data showed the risk of emergency readmission was significantly lower for people who visited a GP,’ AIHW spokesperson, Dr Lynelle Moon said.
 
Transition between hospital and community care for patients with coronary heart disease’ found that patients who had at least one follow-up with a GP or cardiologist, or claimed a new chronic disease management plan within two years of discharge had a 5–11% lower risk of emergency readmission and 4–6% lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease (CVD).
 
The AIHW study combined data from de-identified hospitalisation records, the Medicare Benefits Schedule and the National Death Index. The data investigated the health services used by more than 37,300 patients in New South Wales and Victoria discharged from public hospital with CHD between April 2012 and June 2013.
 
Collating the data in this way has enabled the study to show a more complete view of the results and outcomes of patient engagement with a number of different health professionals, including GPs.
 
‘Our analysis allowed us to account for many other factors that may have influenced a person’s likelihood of having an emergency readmission to hospital, such as their age or the complexity of their condition, so we could single out the true impact of seeing a GP,’ Dr Moon said.
 
The overwhelming majority (80%) of patients hospitalised for CHD were aged over 55, and one in four had at least one emergency re-admission due to CVD within two years of their original hospital discharge.
 
Almost one in 10 of these patients died during the two-year follow-up period after their discharge, with 40% of these deaths due to CVD.
 
However, a visit with a GP in the first week after discharge provided patients a 5% lower risk of emergency readmission for CVD compared to patients who had a GP visit in the first 30 days, while patients who visited a GP one to two times each month had a 12–13% lower risk.
 
The scheduling of patient–GP visits is also important. Patients whose visits were evenly timed experienced a 13% lower risk of emergency CVD readmission than those whose visits were more irregular.
 
There was further good news in that the vast majority of patients discharged from hospital with CHD did follow up with GPs, and  those who did tended to do so quickly.
 
‘About eight in 10 patients had a follow-up appointment with their GP within 30 days of being discharged, with six in 10 following up within the first week,’ Dr Moon said.



cardiovascular disease heart disease



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