Graham MM, Knudtson ML, O'Neill BJ, Ross DB for the Canadian Cardiovascular Society Access to Care Working Group. Treating the right patient at the right time: Access to cardiac catheterization, percutaneous coronary intervention and cardiac surgery. Can J Cardiol 2006 July; 22(8): 679-683.

The Canadian Cardiovascular Society Access to Care Working Group was formed with a mandate to use the best science and information available to establish reasonable triage categories and safe wait times for common cardiovascular services and procedures through a series of commentaries. The present commentary discusses the rationale for access benchmarks for cardiac catheterization and revascularization procedures for patients with stable angina, and access benchmarks for cardiac catheterization and surgery for patients with valvular heart disease. Literature on standards of care, wait times and wait list management was reviewed. A survey of cardiac centres in Canada was performed to develop an inventory of current practices in identifying and triaging patients. The Working Group recommends the following medically acceptable wait times for access to cardiac catheterization: 14 days for symptomatic aortic stenosis and six weeks for patients with stable angina and other valvular disease. For percutaneous coronary intervention in stable patients with high-risk anatomy, immediate revascularization or a wait time of 14 days is recommended; six weeks is recommended for all other patients. The target for bypass surgery in those with high-risk anatomy or valve surgery in patients with symptomatic aortic stenosis is 14 days; for all others, the target is six weeks. All stakeholders must affirm the appropriateness of these standards and work continuously to achieve them. There is an ongoing need to continually reassess current risk stratification methods to limit adverse events in patients on waiting lists and assist clinicians in triaging patients for invasive therapies.

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