The Colorado Prevention Center recently launched a comprehensive secondary prevention program in southeastern Colorado aimed at reducing the acute health risks for patients with atherosclerotic cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. With the high number of people who suffer from cardiovascular diseases, there is demand for education of both patients and health care providers.
Claiming 9,000 lives a year, cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 cause of death in Colorado. In Pueblo County, for example, the death rate due to cardiovascular disease is 36 percent.
The new program will evaluate a community-based intervention to modify both patient and provider behavior to achieve target goals for the management of cardiovascular risk factors.
There will be approximately 25 providers selected to participate in the intervention program, and each of those providers will identify a minimum of 100 patients – each with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease – to participate in the program.
The goal of the program is to encourage providers to translate this information to their at-risk patients, said William Hiatt, MD, president of CPC. CPC also will conduct a rural-based Train-the-Trainer program in several southeastern Colorado counties to increase awareness and improve treatment of risk factors for cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
There also is a high demand for nurses needed to participate in this program. Registered nurses from several southeastern Colorado counties will be selected to receive training in diabetes care. The nurses will then utilize their training to educate at-risk patients in their respective counties.
CPC will partner with the Southeastern Colorado Area Health Education Center in Pueblo to implement both programs. Other organizations that will be participating include St. Mary-Corwin Medical Center, Parkview Medical Center and Prowers County Nursing Services. The "Bridge the Gap" programs are made possible through funding from HealthONE Alliance, Caring for Colorado Foundation and Bristol-Myers Squibb/Sanofi Pharmaceutical Partnership.
Atherosclerotic cardiovascular diseases are the most common cause of death in the Western World.
The major forms of the diseases include coronary artery disease, stroke and peripheral arterial disease. Patients with atherosclerosis carry a greater risk of stroke and vascular death.
Despite overwhelming research evidence and consistent recommendations for disease management, the transfer of the research findings into clinical practice has been disappointing, said Hiatt.
"Many patients, for example, who have clinical evidence of coronary disease, continue to smoke, and continued smoking is clearly associated with more heart attacks and death," Hiatt said.
He noted that only 18 percent of people with diabetes have adequate glycemic control and even fewer diabetic patients reach their target goals for lipids, blood pressure and use of antiplatelet medications, which will reduce risk of a heart attack, stroke or death.
"In general, very few patients with known atherosclerosis reach all the secondary prevention targets," Hiatt said.
by Jason P. Smith