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Research Shows Decrease In Time From Hospital Arrival To Heart Attack Treatment

Heart attack patients are now being treated on average 32 minutes faster than they were five years ago, and medical societies are touting it as evidence of the success of national campaigns to treat heart attacks more quickly.

The study, “Improvements in Door-to-Balloon Time in the United States: 2005-2010,” found that the average time from hospital arrival to treatment declined from 96 minutes in 2005 to just 64 minutes in 2010. In addition, more than 90% of heart attack patients who required emergency angioplasty in 2010 received treatment within the recommended 90 minutes, up from 44% in 2005.

Also, the study reported that 70% were treated in less than 75 minutes in 2010, compared with 27% five years earlier. And, the median time from hospital admission to emergency angioplasty declined from 96 to 64 minutes during the years studied. The study appears in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

The analysis includes all patients reported by hospitals to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services for inclusion in the time to percutaneous coronary intervention acute myocardial infarction-8 inpatient measure for more than 300,000 patients from January 1, 2005, through September 30, 2010.

Declines in median times were greatest among groups that had the highest median times to begin with, those more than 75 years old, (median decline, 38 minutes), women (35 minutes), and blacks (42 minutes).

In 2002, only a third of patients received primary PCI within 90 minutes, and a third underwent the procedure more than two hours after arriving at the hospital. Three efforts were launched, Hospital Compare in 2005 by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, D2B Alliance in 2006 by the American College of Cardiology, and Mission: Lifeline in 2007 by the American Heart Association.

Now, researchers will have to examine how improved D2B times will affect the mortality rates. ACP Hospitalist discussed how they don’t necessarily do that its March issue.

*This blog post was originally published at ACP Hospitalist*

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