Cardiovascular disease remains a major health problem in today's society. It is estimated that more than 6 million people have a history of myocardial infarction and/or angina (Abraham, 1995). Hypertension is another major health problem affecting at least 50 million people in the United States (Johannsen, 1993). Due to the high prevalence of these conditions, many orthopaedic patients will be taking one or more cardiac medications. This article discusses the indications, mechanisms of action, side effects, and nursing implications for the major classes of cardiac medications. The purpose of this article is to enhance the nurse clinician's knowledge of these medications and to optimize the patient's nursing care.
© 1998 National Association of Orthopaedic Nurses