September 29th is World Heart Day. Today, revisit research by CHÉOS Scientists on how acute coronary syndrome patients can be supported post-discharge.

Acute coronary syndrome (ACS), including myocardial infraction, is one of the leading causes of hospitalization in Canada and US. Moreover, ACS patients often face challenges such as adverse events, poor self-management, and a lack of support post-discharge, and thus 20 per cent are readmitted within 30 days.

However, many common adverse events and costly readmissions are potentially preventable with proper support for the patient. SFU PhD candidate Emily Ross and CHÉOS Scientists Drs. Martha Mackay and Joel Singer investigated whether automated text messages related to follow-up care and healthy behaviours could support ACS patients for 60 days post-discharge and prevent readmissions.

The messages, developed based on clinical evidence, discharge instructions, and recommendations from a clinical advisory group of patients, clinicians, and researchers, provided patients with advice on diet, physical activity, psychological needs and more, as well as medication and doctor appointment reminders.

At follow-up, the investigators measured the patients’ adherence to medication, quality of life, healthy behaviours, health care resource use, social support, readmissions, and mortality and compared their outcomes to patients who had not received text messages. The pilot study’s aim was to determine the messages’ efficacy and feasibility, and to understand how patients perceived them.

Listen to Emily Ross discuss the study’s design and preliminary findings in her Work in Progress Seminar from May. Read about the development of the intervention and randomization protocol in JMIR Research Protocols.