Context: While current practice guidelines provide an evidence-based approach to management of acute coronary syndromes (ACS), application of the evidence by individual physicians has been suboptimal. Objective: To assess and synthesize the evidence regarding optimal management of non-ST-segment elevation ACS (NSTE-ACS). Data Sources: Systematic searches of peer-reviewed publications were performed in MEDLINE and the Cochrane Database from January 1990 through November 2004, with consultation by content experts. Search terms included antiplatelet therapy, antithrombotic therapy, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibition, angiotensin receptor blockade, β-blockade, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, cigarette smoking, diet, diabetes mellitus, exercise, myocardial ischemia, and coronary artery disease. Study Selection and Data Extraction: Criteria for selection of studies included controlled study design, English language, and clinical pertinence. Data quality was based on the publishing journal and relevance to clinical management of NSTE-ACS. Data Synthesis: While outcomes of controlled studies support a comprehensive approach in the management of patients with NSTE-ACS, many physicians perceive existing guidelines as lengthy and complex. After risk stratification to identify those patients most likely to benefit from an early invasive vs early conservative strategy, a comprehensive management plan can be assembled through an "ABCDE" approach. The elements of this include "A" for antiplatelet therapy, anticoagulation, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibition, and angiotensin receptor blockade; "B" for β-blockade and blood pressure control; "C" for cholesterol treatment and cigarette smoking cessation; "D" for diabetes management and diet; and "E" for exercise. Conclusion An "ABCDE" approach for the management of NSTE-ACS provides a practical and systematic means to implement evidence-based medicine into clinical practice.
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