Purpose: The earliest awareness of new evidence should beat the trial sites that first generated the evidence. We hypothesized that sites that had taken part in the Survival and Ventricular Enlargement (SAVE) trial, which demonstrated that angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors were beneficial following myocardial infarction, would be more likely to adopt their use in this group of patients.
Subjects and methods: We performed a cross-sectional analysis of data collected for the 25,886 North American patients with myocardial infarction enrolled in the Global Utilization of Streptokinase and Tissue Plasminogen Activator for Occluded Coronary Arteries (GUSTO-1) study from 1990 to 1993. Patients were treated at 659 hospitals, 22 of which had also taken part in SAVE. One third of patients were enrolled after SAVE was published in 1992. The primary outcome was use of an ACE inhibitor at discharge. We analyzed the data using hierarchical models and multivariate regression.
Results: Patients treated at sites that had taken part in SAVE were not more likely to receive an ACE inhibitor at discharge than were patients treated at non-SAVE sites (226/1415 [16%] vs. 3671/24,471 [15%]; odds ratio [OR] = 1.1; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.8 to 1.4; P = 0.67). Although patients with heart failure were more likely to receive ACE inhibitors than were those without heart failure, there was no difference between SAVE and non-SAVE sites (90/297 [30%] vs. 1322/4405 [30%]; P = 0.75). Use of ACE inhibitors increased following the publication of the SAVE trial, but again there was no significant difference in adoption of the drug between SAVE and non-SAVE sites.
Conclusion: Sites that had taken part in SAVE were no more likely to adopt ACE inhibitors for patients with myocardial infarction than were sites that had not taken part. If those who generated the evidence are slow to translate it into practice, it is unlikely that passive forms of dissemination can improve the quality of care. To accelerate adoption of new evidence, we need to understand factors other than knowledge and awareness that influence practice.