Benefits from beta-blockers after heart attacks

Results from a computer simulation indicate that increased use of beta-blockers after a first myocardial infarction (MI) would lead to impressive gains in health and would be potentially cost saving.Kathryn Phillips and colleagues from the Institute of Health Policies Studies at the University of California used a computer simulation Markov model of coronary heart disease in the US population. In a study published in 6 December Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA 2000 284:2748-2754

By | December 7, 2000

Results from a computer simulation indicate that increased use of beta-blockers after a first myocardial infarction (MI) would lead to impressive gains in health and would be potentially cost saving.

Kathryn Phillips and colleagues from the Institute of Health Policies Studies at the University of California used a computer simulation Markov model of coronary heart disease in the US population. In a study published in 6 December Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA 2000 284:2748-2754), they estimated that initiating use of beta blockers for all "eligible" patients aged 35 to 84 years surviving a first myocardial infarction would result in 72,000 fewer deaths from coronary heart disease, 62,000 prevented new MIs and probably would save $18million during the next 20 years. Simulations included one cohort of MI survivors in 2000 followed up for 20 years and 20 successive annual cohorts of all first MI survivors in 2000-2002.

Clinicians know that beta-blockers can save lives and spare more heart attacks but this practice is not yet widely adopted. This study re-emphasizes the lost opportunity that results from the under-use of medications that are both effective and cost- effective.

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