Effectiveness of Nurse-led Cardiac Clinics in Adult Patients with a Diagnosis of Coronary Heart Disease

Tammy Page, Craig Lockwood, Tiffany Conroy-Hiller

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background  Coronary heart disease is the major cause of illness and death in Western countries and this is likely to increase as the average age of the population rises. Consumers with established coronary heart disease are at the highest risk of experiencing further coronary events. Lifestyle measures can contribute significantly to a reduction in cardiovascular mortality in established coronary heart disease. Improved management of cardiac risk factors by providing education and referrals as required has been suggested as one way of maintaining quality care in patients with established coronary heart disease. There is a need to ascertain whether or not nurse-led clinics would be an effective adjunct for patients with coronary heart disease to supplement general practitioner advice and care. Objectives  The objective of this review was to present the best available evidence related to nurse-led cardiac clinics. Inclusion criteria  This review considered any randomised controlled trials that evaluated cardiac nurse-led clinics. In the absence of randomised controlled trials, other research designs such as non-randomised controlled trials and before and after studies were considered for inclusion. Participants were adults (18 years and older) with new or existing coronary heart disease. The interventions of interest to the review included education, assessment, consultation, referral and administrative structures. Outcomes measured included adverse event rates, readmissions, admissions, clinical and cost effectiveness, consumer satisfaction and compliance with therapy. Results  Based on the search terms used, 80 papers were initially identified and reviewed for inclusion; full reports of 24 of these papers were retrieved. There were no papers included that addressed cost effectiveness or adverse events; and none addressed the outcome of referrals. A critical appraisal of the 24 remaining papers identified a total of six randomised controlled trials that met the inclusion criteria. Two studies addressed nurse-led clinics for patients diagnosed with angina, one looked at medication administration and the other looked at educational plans. A further four studies compared secondary preventative care with a nurse-led clinic and general practitioner clinic. One specifically compared usual care versus shared care introduced by nurses for patients awaiting coronary artery bypass grafting. Of the remaining three studies, two have been combined in the results section, as they are an interim report and a final report of the same study. Because of inconsistencies in reporting styles and outcome measurements, meta-analysis could not be performed on all outcomes. However, a narrative summary of each study and comparisons of specific outcomes assessed from within each study has been developed. Although not all outcomes obtained statistical significance, nurse-led clinics were at least as effective as general practitioner clinics for most outcomes. Recommendations  The following recommendations are made: • The use of nurse-led clinics is recommended for patients with coronary heart disease (Level II). • Utilise nurse-led clinics to increase clinic attendance and follow-up rates (Level II). • Nurse-led clinics are recommended for patients who require lifestyle changes to decrease their risk of adverse outcomes associated with coronary heart disease (Level II).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2-26
Number of pages25
JournalInternational Journal of Evidence-Based Healthcare
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • clinic
  • coronary heart disease
  • health promotion
  • model
  • nurse led
  • systematic review


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