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The use of guideline-recommended secondary prevention measures is essential for reducing the risk of subsequent events and mortality in patients who have survived an acute atherothrombotic event or have peripheral arterial disease. Although initial hospitalization provides an ideal environment to initiate such therapies, implementation of effective longterm prevention strategies is hindered by the absence of a systematic approach. In general, evidence-based clinical practice guidelines recommend antiplatelet therapy as a cornerstone of post-discharge secondary prevention, in addition to preventive measures targeting risk factors such as hypertension, dyslipidemia, cigarette smoking, and physical inactivity. Observational data indicate that, although there has been improvement over time, current utilization of guideline-recommended post-discharge treatment remains suboptimal. Recognizing the importance of a systematic approach to discharge planning, numerous hospital-based initiatives have been established. In conjunction with effective lines of communication between hospital and primary care teams, initiation of the most effective secondary prevention strategy at the time of hospital discharge will help to ensure optimal long-term management of patients after an atherothrombotic event.
View details for PubMedID 19179811