Objective: There remain substantial gaps in implementation of evidence-based care in patients with acute coronary syndromes (ACS) in Australia, which contribute to high recurrent event rates. Improved translation of evidence into effective action is a key health-care priority. We engaged cardiovascular experts from across Australia to develop straightforward, easily actionable recommendations on key medications to use following ACS.
Methods: An eight-person steering committee (SC) reviewed the published evidence and developed an initial set of statements to be developed into consensus recommendations using a modified Delphi technique. A panel of 21 expert cardiologists in the ACS field (including the SC) voted on their level of agreement with the statements using a 6 point Likert scale. Statements that did not reach consensus (≥80% agreement) were reviewed by the SC, modified as appropriate based on input from the panel and circulated for re-voting.
Results: Twenty-eight statements were developed by the SC across six classes of medication: low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol lowering agents, aspirin, dual antiplatelet therapy, renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system inhibitors, beta blockers and "other". Twenty-six recommendations were endorsed by the voting panel; two statements did not reach consensus.
Conclusions: Despite the extensive evidence base and detailed guidelines outlining best practice post ACS, there remain considerable gaps in translating these into everyday care. We used an internationally recognized technique to develop practical consensus recommendations on medical treatment following ACS. These simple, up-to-date recommendations aim to improve evidence-based medication use and thereby reduce the risk of future cardiovascular events for Australian patients with ACS.
Keywords: Acute coronary syndrome; LDL cholesterol; angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors; angiotensin receptor antagonists; antiplatelet agents; aspirin; beta adrenergic blockers.