Monday, March 28, 2011

Many Patients With Heart Attack Delay Hospital Care

(HealthDay News) -- The time it takes for a patient to get to an emergency room when experiencing the symptoms of a heart attack have remained stubbornly high for the past decade, despite efforts to fix that, researchers report.

A new study in the Nov. 8 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine found that it took heart attack patients an average of 2.6 hours to get to the hospital after first noticing symptoms -- this despite education efforts to get people to call for help or leave for the hospital within five minutes of chest pain, jaw pain, shortness of breath or other symptoms.

Progress has been made in cutting system delays -- meaning what happens after a patient enters into medical care -- with "door-to-balloon" (such as angioplasty) times now well below 90 minutes, and sometimes as low as 50 or 60 minutes. Time is especially critical for patients with a type of heart attack called ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI), which tends to be the more severe form of heart attack. Read more...

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