Postdischarge medication use of elderly cardiac patients from urban and rural locations

Cheryl Dellasega, Denise Orwig, Frank Ahern, Elizabeth Lenz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Background. After discharge from an acute care setting, elderly cardiac patients take a variety of medications in the home setting. Their pharmacologic regimens are often quite complex, and may involve drags from several therapeutic categories. Patterns of medication use can be one measure of patient status after discharge because they can indicate whether medical conditions are stabilized. A problem related to medications during the postdischarge period is residence of the patient. For persons discharged to rural settings, access to health care resources and follow-up monitoring of medications may be problematic. Methods. This longitudinal study followed postdischarge medication use over a 5-month period. Thirty- two elderly persons admitted to a large tertiary care center for treatment of cardiac conditions were recruited. Baseline information was collected on demographics and health status, and subjects were then interviewed by telephone at 2, 4, 12, and 20 weeks postdischarge. Analysis of functional health complaints assessed by the Medical Outcomes Short Form (SF-36) and cardiac symptom scorns were correlated with new and standing prescriptions over time and across geographic locations. Potential confounders such as age, gender, and severity of illness were controlled for. Results. Statistical analyses on continuity of medication use and changes in the category of medication proscribed revealed that urban subjects were prescribed more drags and experienced significantly more alterations in their drag regimens. Conclusions. Contrary to expectations, urban subjects appeared to do worse over the postdischarge period with greater drag utilization that directly predicted the number of hospital readmissions and number of emergency room visits, even though their severity of illness was no different from their rural counterparts at the time of discharge.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)M514-M520
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Medicine


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