In This Edition
Literature At A Glance
A guide to this month’s studies
- High-dose vs. low-dose clopidogrel after cardiac stenting
- Rates of overdiagnosis of PE with CTPA
- Outcomes of hospitalists with PAs or residents
- White coats and MRSA
- Correlation of vital signs and pain
- Rate of asymptomatic perioperative MI
- Relationship of opioid prescription patterns and overdose
- Interdisciplinary rounds and rates of adverse events
High-Dose Clopidogrel Is Not Superior to Standard-Dose Clopidogrel in Patients with High On-Treatment Platelet Activity after Percutaneous Corona
Clinical question: In patients with high on-treatment platelet activity, does the use of high-dose clopidogrel after percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) decrease the risk of cardiovascular events?
Background: In patients receiving clopidogrel, high platelet reactivity after PCI is associated with an increase in cardiovascular events. At present, treatments targeted at this population are not well-defined.
Study design: Randomized, double-blind, active-control trial.
Setting: Eighty-three centers in North America.
Synopsis: Researchers randomized 2,214 patients with drug-eluting stents to receive either high-dose clopidogrel (600 mg initial dose, 150 mg daily thereafter) or standard-dose clopidogrel (no additional loading dose, 75 mg daily). At six months, the primary endpoint of death from cardiovascular causes, nonfatal myocardial infarction, or stent thrombosis was no different in the two groups (2.3% in the high-dose group versus 2.3% in the standard-dose group; hazard ratio 1.01).
Bottom line: High-dose clopidogrel adds no benefit over standard-dose clopidogrel in patients with high platelet reactivity who have undergone PCI with drug-eluting stent placement.
Citation: Price MJ, Berger PB, Teirstein PS, et al. Standard- vs. high-dose clopidogrel based on platelet function testing after percutaneous coronary intervention: the GRAVITAS randomized trial. JAMA. 2011;305(11):1097-1105.
Computed Tomographic Pulmonary Angiography (CTPA) Is Associated with Overdiagnosis and Overtreatment of Pulmonary Embolism (PE)
Clinical question: Is the use of CTPA associated with increased incidence of PE and increased complications from anticoagulation treatment?
Background: CTPA is a sensitive, noninvasive test for diagnosing PE that could have a drawback: identifying potentially clinically unimportant (small) pulmonary emboli that subsequently are treated. Overtreatment might be associated with patient harm due to increased complications of anticoagulation therapy.
Study design: Time-trend analysis of PE between the pre-CTPA period (1993 to 1998) and the post-CTPA period (1998 to 2006).
Setting: Nongovernmental U.S. hospitals.
Synopsis: The Nationwide Inpatient Sample and Multiple Cause-of-Death databases were used to determine national estimates of hospitalization for PE, along with morbidity and mortality from PE.
The age-adjusted analysis revealed a statistically significant increase in the incidence of PE diagnosis after introduction of CTPA (to 112 per 100,000 from 62 per 100,000), with minimal change in overall PE mortality. This was accompanied by a substantial reduction in PE case-fatality rate, the rate of hospital deaths among patients with a diagnosis of pulmonary embolism.
Availability of CTPA was associated with a significant increase in anticoagulation complication rates (to 5.3 per 100,000 from 3.1 per 100,000), including statistically significant increases in gastrointestinal hemorrhage and secondary thrombocytopenia, and a trend toward higher rates of intracranial hemorrhage.
Bottom line: Introduction of CTPA was associated with changes suggestive of overdiagnosis (increased incidence, relatively unchanged mortality) and overtreatment (increased complication rates) of PE, but it remains unknown which small PEs are clinically significant.
Citation: Wiener RS, Schwartz LM, Woloshin S. Time trends in pulmonary embolism in the United States: evidence of overdiagnosis. Arch Intern Med. 2011;171(9):831-837.
Hospitalist-Physician Assistant Teams Associated with Longer Length of Stay, No Change in Mortality, Readmission Rates
Clinical question: Do length of stay (LOS), hospital mortality, or readmission rate change if hospitalists and physician assistants, or the traditional resident-hospitalist teams, provide the patient care?