Objectives: To assess the secular trends in left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) assessment after myocardial infarction (MI) and to identify the determinants of testing.
Design: A population-based MI incidence cohort.
Methods: The use of tests measuring LVEF (echocardiography, radionuclide, and left ventricular [LV] angiography) was examined among all consecutive residents of Olmsted County, MN, hospitalized for a validated incident MI between 1979 and 1998. Baseline characteristics and outcome were ascertained from community medical records.
Results: Among 2,317 patients with incident MI, LVEF assessment increased from 1979 to 1986 (22 to 85%; p value for trend = 0.0001) to stabilize thereafter until 1998. During the most recent decade, LVEF was measured during the hospital stay in 81% of the patients. Characteristics associated with lesser use of tests included older age and measurement of ejection fraction within 1 year prior to the index MI. Larger MI size, prolonged hospital stay, and involvement of a cardiologist as a care provider were positively associated with determination of LVEF.
Conclusions: Measurement of LVEF after MI increased in the last 2 decades, but there continues to be a group of patients in whom it is not done. Given the potential benefits of LVEF measurement, including knowledge for risk stratification and therapeutic choices as underscored in recent practice guidelines, there may be additional opportunities for improving outcomes by ensuring its more consistent use. However, as testing for LVEF differs according to patient characteristics, reliance on selected clinically performed LVEF measurements will result in biased estimates of the prevalence of LV dysfunction after MI.