During this decade, diagnosis and treatment of coronary heart disease (CHD) have become far more aggressive and invasive than in prior decades. This study documents rates of hospitalization, use of various treatment options, a case fatality in the state of Massachusetts during 4 of the first 5 years of this decade (1980, 1982, 1983, and 1984). The data base was that of the Massachusetts Health Data Consortium (MHDC), covering all hospital discharges in the state, a total of 3.8 million discharge records for this period. Of these, about 190,000 (5%) fell into two active symptomatic categories of CHD: chronic active coronary disease (CACD) and acute myocardial infarction (AMI). Total hospitalization rate for these CHD categories increased by 17%; this was due both to an increased rate of hospital transfers (or readmissions) and to a larger cohort of patients under care. The case fatality rate for hospitalized CHD decreased approximately 16%, from 9.7% (1980) to 8.1% (1984). In CACD the frequency of coronary angiography (CA) rose; the use of percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA) increased much faster than the rate of coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG), with a resultant increase in PTCA as a fraction of total interventions. Similar findings were recorded for AMI, but with much more marked changes, the total intervention rate increasing almost twenty-fold from 1980 to 1984. The statewide mortality rate for hospitalized CHD patients remained essentially unchanged at 71 to 74 hospital deaths per 100,000 population.
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