Letters

Secondary prevention of coronary heart disease

BMJ 2002; 324 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.324.7337.611 (Published 09 March 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;324:611

Ill defined inclusion criteria resulted in missed trials

  1. Karen Rees (Karen.Rees@bristol.ac.uk), research fellow in systematic reviews,
  2. Shah Ebrahim (Shah.Ebrahim@bristol.ac.uk), coordinating editor, Cochrane Heart Group
  1. Department of Social Medicine, University of Bristol, Bristol BS8 2PR
  2. Department of Community and Family Medicine, School of Public Health, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, New Territories, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China
  3. Glasgow Homeopathic Hospital, Glasgow G12 OYN

    EDITOR—The review by McAlister et al of secondary prevention programmes in coronary heart disease does not adhere to some of the major principals of good practice when conducting systematic reviews of the medical literature.13 These include a clearly defined research question, strict inclusion criteria so that the review can be replicated, an exhaustive search of the medical literature to find all relevant studies, and findings that can be interpreted easily by the reader and relate to clinical practice.

    McAlister et al, at first glance, have chosen a huge area of the medical literature to review, encompassing both pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions for the secondary prevention of coronary heart disease. On closer inspection, they say that it is their intention to review the literature concerned with disease management programmes for coronary heart disease. The definition of disease management programmes used is broad and is quoted as that proposed by Hunter et al as a combination of patient education, provider use of practice guidelines, appropriate consultation, and supplies of drugs and ancillary services; from the same source, Hunter et al also say that the spectrum of disease management extends from health promotion and disease prevention, through diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation to long term …

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