Heart issue hospitalizations drop among Medicare patients

Fewer Medicare patients are being hospitalized for heart conditions, according to research to be presented today at the American Heart Association's Quality of Care and Outcomes Research in Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke meeting in Washington D.C.

The largest was a 32 percent drop in hospitalizations for coronary artery disease, followed by a 22 percent decrease for heart attacks, and a 17 percent drop in heart failure hospitalizations.

This is an important trend to note, as heart disease is the leading cause of hospitalization in the U.S.

"We believe this may reflect an improvement in medical care and preventive efforts and in delivering healthcare in the United States over the last decade," study lead author Amit H. Sachdev, a fourth-year medical student at New York University School of Medicine, said in a statement.

Such improvements include better diagnostic tests, physicians getting more heart disease education, and more frequent use of medications to prevent or control heart disease. Researchers also attribute the falling hospitalization rate to government efforts to combat cardiac conditions.

Sachdev called the findings "informative and encouraging," but notes that they can only be applied to an older population that is expected to double in size over the next 15 years.

"You would expect, naturally, that as the size of the population increases, you would get more people being hospitalized," he said. "So, further efforts in therapeutic and preventive interventions must be made to continue to see these declines."

For more:
- here's the American Heart Association press release
- read the HealthDay News article