Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New statement proposes ways to stop deadly drug errors among heart, stroke patients

12.11.2002


Better educating physicians, using computers to order drugs and improving the system for policing inappropriate medication use can help reduce potentially deadly errors among cardiovascular patients, according to a new American Heart Association scientific statement published in today’s Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.



Several reports have blamed medical errors for thousands of adverse events and deaths among patients in recent years. One study estimates that medical errors occur in 3.7 percent to 16.6 percent of hospitalized patients, contributing to at least 44,000 deaths in the United States each year. Data on deaths due to medical errors involving heart disease and stroke patients is more limited, but a small study of 182 deaths from cerebrovascular disease, pneumonia or heart attack suggests that 14 percent to 27 percent of the deaths may have been avoidable.

Additionally, a study of 203 cases of cardiac arrest concluded that about 7 percent of the arrests may have been prevented, says Jane E. Freedman, M.D., a member of the American Heart Association’s Committee on Acute Cardiac Care and lead author of the statement. Medication error was the most common cause of potentially preventable arrest, occurring in 44 percent of cases. Mistakes can be made while prescribing, transcribing, dispensing, administering or monitoring medication. Sometimes the incorrect drug is prescribed or dispensed, while other times drug dosages are so high that they are toxic. Another error is creating a dangerous combination with other drugs.


Noting the small size of the studies, Freedman says, "There really isn’t any good general data regarding death caused by medication error among cardiovascular patients. But whatever the exact figures are, it is clear from what we know that patient safety can be improved.

"We need to figure out how to best police errors and develop a system to evaluate how big a problem medical errors are in cardiac care," says Freedman, an associate professor of medicine, pharmacology and experimental therapeutics at Boston University School of Medicine.

According to The National Coordinating Council for Medication Error and Prevention, a medication error is ". . .any preventable event that may cause or lead to inappropriate medication use or patient harm, while the medication is in the control of the health care professional, patient, or consumer."

Recommendations for reducing deaths due to medication error highlighted in the statement include: · Improve reporting of medication errors.

Staff self-reporting, currently the most common method of reporting errors, catches fewer than half of adverse events, Freedman says. "Many doctors are afraid of litigation, a dilemma that must be addressed as part of the overall solution."

· Develop a system to control errors.

"Computers are helping," Freedman says. "Some hospitals, for example, have computerized systems that say, ’Don’t use these two drugs together.’"

Other suggestions: Use streamlined protocols that consider all recent drugs the patient has been prescribed. Also, use standardized order forms that include prompts to record a patient’s weight if needed to calculate the correct dosage.

· Improve education.

"We have to better train doctors to be aware of drugs with similar names," she says. For example, the calcium channel blocker Cardene can be confused with the calcium channel blockers Cardizem or Cardizem SR, or the narcotic codeine.

Physicians should refer to fibrinolytic or clot-dissolving drugs by their full generic or brand names and avoid abbreviations even in their handwritten orders.

Doctors also need to be educated about using newer medications. For example, if a new, low-molecular weight heparin is substituted for traditional unfractionated heparin, the dosage of other medications may change too, she notes.

· Address errors of omission.

"While not always considered a safety error, this is a big problem in cardiac care," Freedman says. "Studies show that not everyone leaving the hospital who should be getting potentially lifesaving medications such as beta blockers or aspirin are getting them."

Finally, Freedman says, adverse events occur due to poor handwriting. "If you scribble a prescription rather than type it, the chances of medication error are so much greater," she says. "This error should never happen."


Coauthors are Richard C. Becker, M.D.; Jesse E. Adams, M.D.; Steven Borzak, M.D.; Robert L. Jesse, M.D.; L. Kristin Newby, M.D.; Patrick O’Gara, M.D.; John C. Pezzullo, M.D.; Richard Kerber, M.D.; Bernice Coleman, M.D.; Joseph Broderick, M.D.; Sally Yasuda, M.D.; and Christopher Cannon, M.D.

Carole Bullock | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.americanheart.org/

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht New malaria analysis method reveals disease severity in minutes
14.08.2017 | University of British Columbia

nachricht New type of blood cells work as indicators of autoimmunity
14.08.2017 | Instituto de Medicina Molecular

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA Protects its super heroes from space weather

17.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Spray-on electric rainbows: Making safer electrochromic inks

17.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

17.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>