OBJECTIVES: Clinician utilization of the 2013 cholesterol lowering guidelines remains variable and unknown. We sought to examine statin prescribing patterns and compare rates among specialists who treat high-risk cardiovascular patients admitted to the hospital.
METHODS: We retrospectively (via chart review) examined four specialty groups: (i) Cardiology, (ii) Cardiovascular or Vascular (CV) Surgery, (iii) Neurology, and (iv) Internal Medicine. Adult patients were included based on a discharge diagnosis of acute coronary syndrome, coronary artery bypass graft surgery, carotid endarterectomy, acute ischemic stroke, transient ischemic attack, or high-risk chest pain. Prescribing patterns were evaluated 6 months and 18 months after the release of the 2013 guidelines. High-intensity statin was defined as atorvastatin 40-80 mg or rosuvastatin 20-40 mg per day.
RESULTS: 632 patients were included in our study. The following percentages of patients were discharged on high-intensity statin (6 months; 18 months): (i) Cardiology (80%; 85%), (ii) CV Surgery (52%, 65%), (iii) Neurology (59%; 66%), and (iv) Internal Medicine (45%; 48%). Among the four groups, Cardiology was the most likely to discharge patients on high-intensity statin (p < 0.001) in 2014 and in 2015. Cardiology, CV Surgery, and Neurology significantly increased the percentage of patients on high-intensity statin from pre-admission to time of discharge in both years.
CONCLUSION: High-intensity statin therapy is underutilized among high-risk cardiovascular patients admitted to the hospital. Variations exist in prescribing patterns of different specialties who manage high-risk populations. This data can be used to test quality improvement interventions to improve rates of high-intensity statin utilization among high-risk patients prior to hospital discharge.