In a span of five years, there are a lot of new, more suitable means in fighting coronary artery diseases (CADs).
This is why the Philippine Heart Association (PHA), the professional organization of cardiovascular specialists in the country, published the revised “2014 Philippine Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Management of Coronary Artery Disease.” The booklet is an updated edition of the 2009 guidelines that the PHA published, containing advances in medical knowledge on CADs and local clinical practice, as reflected in the ongoing PHA Acute Coronary Syndrome Registry.
Speaking during a media briefing last Nov. 27, PHA president Dr. Joel M. Abanilla said the guideline will enable Filipino medical practitioners, especially the frontliners—those who firstly and primarily deal with CAD patients—to detect and manage CADs better. “[It] aims to assist Filipino physicians in making clinical decisions in the management of CADs and ultimately to improve the quality of care of Filipino patients with this life-threatening disease.”
The guidelines incorporate the latest international and local studies on the pathophysiology, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of CAD; and fine-tune their findings to make them relevant and applicable in the local setting, Abanilla said.
Dr. Victor L. Lazaro, chair of PHA Council on Coronary Artery Disease, added that the 2014 guidelines contain new recommendations on the use of new medications, such as anti-platelets and heart-rate-controlling medicines, and new machines.
The guidelines are for general practitioners, family physicians, ER (emergency room) doctors, nurses, internists, cardiologists and other medical personnel, with the latest proven recommendations classified as “strongly recommended,” “recommended,” and “may be recommended” for specific treatments and modalities.
Burden of CADs
CADs occur when the coronary arteries—the major blood vessels that supply the heart with blood, oxygen and nutrients—become damaged or diseased, usually through the accumulation of cholesterol-containing deposits or plaque in the arteries and the inflammation this causes, said Dr. Myra Dolor-Torres, chair of PHA task force on stable ischemic heart disease. The resulting decreased blow flow may cause chest pain or angina, shortness of breath, etc., and a complete blockage can cause a heart attack, said Dr. Sue Ann R. Locnen, chair of PHA task force on non-ST elevation myocardial Infarction.
The burden of CADs in the country is significant, since cardiovascular diseases not only rank among the country’s top 10 causes of sickness, but also among the top killers of Filipinos. According to the Department of Health, 170,000 Filipinos die yearly because of cardiovascular diseases.
The main risk factors of CADs include smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, sedentary lifestyle, obesity and family history of the diseases, said Dr. Victor L. Lazaro, Chair, PHA task force on ST elevation myocardial infarction.
The revised guidelines can thus be a tool to help combat CAD, according to PHA. Lazaro said the guidelines can help lessen incidents and deaths caused by CADs by helping physicians make clinical decisions. He added that the effort is just one of PHA’s commitments “to elevate the standards of local cardiology education and care for everyone.”
Sponsored by AstraZeneca Philippines, the guidelines will be distributed starting next year through the 11 PHA chapters nationwide. Distribution of the booklet will continue for the next two years. The booklet will also be available in an e-book form, downloadable from the PHA website.
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