Study: Hospitals Curb Treatment Time for Heart Attack Patients
Almost all patients who have suffered a heart attack now are treated within the recommended 90-minute time frame thanks to nationwide efforts to speed cardiac care, according to a study published on Monday in Circulation, the AP/Sacramento Bee reports.
For the study, Yale University researchers and colleagues assessed 300,000 patients who received emergency angioplasty between 2005 and 2010 at hospitals that treated Medicare patients (Marchione, AP/Sacramento Bee, 8/22).
They found that the door-to-balloon time -- the period from hospital arrival to angioplasty -- dropped from a median of 96 minutes in 2005 to 64 minutes in 2010.
Moreover, roughly 91% of patients in 2010 received care within 90 minutes, up from only about 44% five years earlier, while about 70% of patients received care within 75 minutes, up from approximately 27% in 2005 (Kaiser, MedPage Today, 8/22).
Possible Contributing Factors
The study attributed the improvements to various nationwide efforts to speed heart treatment after research revealed that most patients did not receive care within the recommended time frame, the Wall Street Journal's "Health Blog" reports.
For example, CMS began publicly reporting the percentage of patients treated within recommended door-to-balloon times, while the American College of Cardiology and other organizations launched the D2B Alliance, which urged hospitals to adopt strategies to accelerate care (Hobson, "Health Blog," Wall Street Journal, 8/22).
According to the Yale cardiologist Harlan Krumholtz, the study's lead author, the findings "show the profession at one of its finest moments" (MedPage Today, 8/22). He notes that "Americans who have heart attacks can now be confident they're going to be treated rapidly in virtually every hospital of the country" (AP/Sacramento Bee, 8/22).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.