Background: With a mortality rate above European average, myocardial infarction (MI) is the second most common cause of death in Germany. Data about post-MI ambulatory care and mortality is scarce. We examined the association between ambulatory treating physicians' specialty and the mortality of post-MI patients.
Methods: Medical claims data of all 17 German regional Associations of Statutory Health Insurance physicians were analyzed, which cover approximately 90% of the German population. Patients with a new diagnosis of a MI in 2011 were divided into treatment groups with and without ambulant cardiology care within the first year after MI diagnosis. Propensity-score matching based on socio-demographic and clinical variables was performed to achieve comparability between groups. The 18-month mortality rate was derived employing a validated method.
Results: 158,494 patients with a new diagnosis of MI had received post-MI ambulatory care in 2011. Half of them (51%) had at least one ambulatory contact with a cardiologist within the first year. During a follow-up of 18months, the mortality rate before and after propensity-score matching was 19% and 14% in patients without cardiology care and 6%, respectively, in patients with cardiology care (χ2=666.7; P<0.000 after propensity adjustment). Patients who only saw a cardiologist and had no additional contact to an ambulant general practitioner (GP)/internist within the first year did not have increased survival rates.
Conclusions: Outpatient follow-up care by a cardiologist in combination with consultations of GP/internists within the first year may be of importance for the prognosis of MI patients.
Keywords: Ambulatory care; Cardiologist; Medical claims data; Mortality; Myocardial infarction.
Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.