The effect of physicians' training on prescribing beta-blockers for secondary prevention of myocardial infarction in the elderly

Ann Epidemiol. 2002 Feb;12(2):86-9. doi: 10.1016/s1047-2797(01)00251-4.


Purpose: The objective was to determine whether the year and medical school of graduation, the medical specialty and the sex of the treating physician was associated with prescribing beta-blockers after hospital discharge among survivors of myocardial infarction (MI), after adjusting for patient characteristics.

Methods: We carried out a dynamic retrospective cohort study using data from a longitudinal database that contained information on Quebec residents over the age of 65 years sent home from hospital after MI between 1990 and 1993. The outcome was a beta-blocker being dispensed after hospital discharge. Logistic regression was used to estimate the association between training characteristics and beta-blocker dispensation and clustering of patients within physicians was accounted for using Generalized Estimating Equations.

Results: The cohort consisted of 14,334 MI survivors who were treated by 3209 physicians, yielding a mean of about 4.5 patients per physician [standard deviation (SD) = 8.2]. Beta-blockers were prescribed to approximately one-third of subjects. After adjusting for patients' demographic characteristics, comorbid medical conditions, and markers of MI severity, physicians who were more likely to prescribe a beta-blocker included cardiologists and the most recent graduates (graduating after 1989). Systematic differences were also observed between graduates of different medical schools.

Conclusions: After adjusting for differences between patients', the sex of the physician was largely unrelated to prescribing beta-blockers for secondary prevention of MI. However, prescribing differed by training characteristics such as medical specialty and year and medical school of graduation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists / administration & dosage*
  • Aged
  • Canada
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Myocardial Infarction / drug therapy
  • Myocardial Infarction / prevention & control*
  • Odds Ratio
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / statistics & numerical data*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sex Factors


  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists