Unadvised Patients Drive After Heart Procedures

Unadvised Patients Drive After Heart Procedures

Reported October 30, 2009

(Ivanhoe Newswire) — Cardiac patients who receive treatment may not be receiving proper driving advice from their doctors.

Canadian researchers say 57 percent of patients released from the hospital after angioplasty did not receive any advice regarding driving after discharge, despite guidelines released by the Canadian Cardiovascular Society (CCS). Patients studied had acute coronary syndrome (ACS), a collection of cardiac symptoms including angina, chest pain and restricted blood flow to the heart, and were studied after being treated with angioplasty.

“If a patient is discharged from hospital following a cardiac event, there is always a risk of another serious cardiac event or complication within a short period of time,” Dr. Ravi Bajaj was quoted as saying. “That is why patients are advised not to operate a motor vehicle during the time when risks of an event are high. Should they continue to drive, it poses a risk to the patient and others on the road.”



The study stresses that doctors are not following the CCS recommendations, which range from 48 hours to a month of refraining from driving. Out of the 43 percent of patients who did receive counseling on the issue, advice was neither consistent with each other nor with the CCS guidelines. Among the counseled patients, 40 percent were advised to wait for 48 hours, 15 percent for one week and 35 percent for one month.

To explain the varying advice, experts suggest doctors may be worried patients will withhold information in the future out of fear of losing driving privileges.

SOURCE: Presented to the 2009 Canadian Cardiovascular Congress by the Heart and Stroke Foundation and the Canadian Cardiovascular Society