Speedy Hospitalization After Heart Attack Onset Greatly Improves Care

A Mayo Clinic Research study finds that getting a heart attack patient to hospital within one to two hours of heart attack onset can assure that chances of receiving proper treatment are 70 percent better than a patient who waits 11 to 12 hours. The results of the study were presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2007, In Orlando, Florida.

"This research should emphasize to patients that getting help immediately, by calling 911, gives them the best chance of receiving treatments we know can help save their lives or lessen the damage to their hearts" says Henry Ting, M.D., lead Mayo Clinic cardiovascular researcher on the national study. "If patients wait at home for hors with symptoms and come in later, unfortunately they aren’t getting the proper treatment."

The most serious type of heart attack is known as a STEMI, for which the best treatment is reperfusion therapy. The study documents how long it took for 440,398 heart attack patients to arrive at the hospital after heart attack onset, and correlate arrival time with the rates of reperfusion therapy they received upon arriving at the hospital.

  • Of patients who arrived at the hospital within one to two hours of heart attack onset, 77% received reperfusion therapy
  • Of those patients arriving at the hospital within two to three hours of attack onset, 73% received reperfusion therapy
  • Of those patients who reached the hospital within 11 to 12 hours of attack onset, only 46% received reperfusion therapy

"Although current guidelines recommend that STEMI patients who reach the hospital within 12 hours after their symptoms started should receive reperfusion therapy, we found that this is not happening," Dr. Ting says. "These delays represent a novel and modifiable risk factor and warrant further investigation. These results show that gaps remain in quality of care in patients with STEMI — first, we need to encourage patients with potential heart attacks to come to the hospital as early as possible; second, hospitals need to implement systems that treat all eligible patients rapidly regardless of the delay in presentation."

Source: Mayo Clinic

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