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Residents' Shorter Hours Don't Compromise Care

Recent restrictions do not affect outcomes for patients with acute coronary syndrome

FRIDAY, May 12 (HealthDay News) -- The 2003 guidelines that restrict residents from working more than 80 hours per week are associated with consistent outcomes for patients with acute coronary syndrome (ACS) and improved quality of care, according to research presented this week at the American Heart Association's 7th Scientific Forum on Quality of Care and Outcomes Research in Washington, D.C.

Kim Eagle, M.D., of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues analyzed the medical records of 1,000 ACS patients, 570 of whom were admitted to a hospital before the new restrictions went into effect and 430 of whom were admitted afterwards.

During hospitalization, the researchers found no group differences in congestive heart failure, pulmonary edema, cardiac shock and strokes. They also found no group differences in six-month mortality, heart attacks or strokes. During the year after the new restrictions went into effect, they observed improvements in the quality of care that ACS patients received, which included shorter hospital stays and increased prescriptions for beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors and statin drugs. But they could not attribute these improvements solely to the new restrictions because the hospital was engaged in a new program to improve quality of care.

"I feel confident that in institutions where there is a concerted effort to study and improve quality, residency hours' restrictions do not have a negative impact on quality of patient care," Eagle said in a statement.

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