Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and statins improve prognosis in patients with coronary artery disease. Effective secondary prevention strategies, however, are frequently under-utilised. We sought to determine prescribing habits for ACE inhibitors and statins in 324 patients undergoing coronary artery bypass graft surgery (CABG) at two regional cardiac centres in the United Kingdom. We prospectively recorded ACE inhibitor and statin use on admission and discharge, ACE inhibitor and statin initiation and withdrawal during the hospital stay, and sought associations with treatment withdrawal. 82 (25.3%) patients were taking an ACE inhibitor on admission compared with 37 (11.4%) at discharge (p<0.0005). An ACE inhibitor was initiated during the hospital stay in five (1.5%) patients and was withdrawn in 50 (15.4%). On admission, 157 (48.5%) patients were receiving statin therapy compared with 154 (47.5%) at discharge (p=ns). Statin treatment was initiated in 23 (7.1%) patients, but was withdrawn in 20 (6.2%) others. Thus, only a minority of patients were receiving ACE inhibitors and statins on admission for isolated elective CABG. ACE inhibitor treatment was discontinued during the hospital stay in over 60% of these patients. Furthermore, statin therapy was no more common at discharge than on admission. This study highlights a missed opportunity for effective secondary prevention in a high risk population.
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