Context: Studies have found that patients with acute coronary syndromes (ACS) often do not receive evidence-based therapies in community practice. This is particularly true in low- and middle-income countries.
Objective: To evaluate whether a multifaceted quality improvement (QI) intervention can improve the use of evidence-based therapies and reduce the incidence of major cardiovascular events among patients with ACS in a middle-income country.
Design, setting, and participants: The BRIDGE-ACS (Brazilian Intervention to Increase Evidence Usage in Acute Coronary Syndromes) trial, a cluster-randomized (concealed allocation) trial conducted among 34 clusters (public hospitals) in Brazil and enrolling a total of 1150 patients with ACS from March 15, 2011, through November 2, 2011, with follow-up through January 27, 2012.
Intervention: Multifaceted QI intervention including educational materials for clinicians, reminders, algorithms, and case manager training, vs routine practice (control).
Main outcome measures: Primary end point was the percentage of eligible patients who received all evidence-based therapies (aspirin, clopidogrel, anticoagulants, and statins) during the first 24 hours in patients without contraindications.
Results: Mean age of the patients enrolled was 62 (SD, 13) years; 68.6% were men, and 40% presented with ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction, 35.6% with non-ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction, and 23.6% with unstable angina. The randomized clusters included 79.5% teaching hospitals, all from major urban areas and 41.2% with 24-hour percutaneous coronary intervention capabilities. Among eligible patients (923/1150 [80.3%]), 67.9% in the intervention vs 49.5% in the control group received all eligible acute therapies (population average odds ratio [OR(PA)], 2.64 [95% CI, 1.28-5.45]). Similarly, among eligible patients (801/1150 [69.7%]), those in the intervention group were more likely to receive all eligible acute and discharge medications (50.9% vs 31.9%; OR(PA),, 2.49 [95% CI, 1.08-5.74]). Overall composite adherence scores were higher in the intervention clusters (89% vs 81.4%; mean difference, 8.6% [95% CI, 2.2%-15.0%]). In-hospital cardiovascular event rates were 5.5% in the intervention group vs 7.0% in the control group (OR(PA), 0.72 [95% CI, 0.36-1.43]); 30-day all-cause mortality was 7.0% vs 8.4% (ORPA, 0.79 [95% CI, 0.46-1.34]).
Conclusion: Among patients with ACS treated in Brazil, a multifaceted educational intervention resulted in significant improvement in the use of evidence-based therapies.
Trial registration: clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT00958958.