Sunday, February 8, 2015

The Hospital Is No Place for a Heart Attack ... Not a Misprint

You're better off here than having a heart attack in a
hospital bed.
A Group of 12 Institutions Are Working to Improve Survival Rates for In-Hospital Attack Patients
A hospital is a bad place to have a heart attack.
While cardiologists have made great strides speeding treatments to people who suffer a heart attack outside the hospital, scant attention has gone to patients already in the hospital for an unrelated medical problem who then have an attack. Recent studies suggest those patients are at least three times as likely to die before getting discharged as people who arrive at the emergency room after having a heart attack elsewhere.
Cardiac Team stand by a screen displaying a coronary 
angiogram in a catheterization lab at North Carolina 
Memorial Hospital in Chapel Hill.
Photo: Travis Dove for The WSJ
Now, a group of 12 hospitals are joining forces to develop strategies—involving nurses in non-cardiac units to rapid-response teams in catheterization labs—to hasten care for those suffering in-hospital heart attacks. Researchers estimate some 10,000 people a year have an attack in the hospital while being treated for such illnesses as cancer or pneumonia or undergoing a surgical procedure such as a hip or knee transplant. That represents about 5% of the more than 200,000 people in the U.S. who suffer a major heart attack each year.
Patients already in the hospital for other medical issues are typically sicker and their heart attacks are often harder to recognize than those who come to the emergency room short of breath or complaining of chest pain. But even after a diagnosis is confirmed, researchers found it can take twice as long on average to get a patient from a hospital bed to a potentially lifesaving stent procedure than it does from the ER. Doctors think avoidable delays likely contribute to the poorer outcomes.
At the University of North Carolina, a study of 275 STEMI patients treated between 2007 and 2011 found 40% of the 48 patients whose attacks occurred in the hospital died before being discharged, compared with a 4% death rate for those brought to the ER.
Read the full story HERE.

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