When you arrive at hospital affects heart attack survival rate
A new study suggests that your chances of surviving a heart attack could be affected at least to some degree by when you arrive at the hospital. The research from the American Heart Association found that people who come to a hospital at night, on the weekend or during a holiday have a 13 percent higher risk of dying, compared to people who arrive during normal hours.
In the U.S, each year, more than a quarter of a million people experience severe heart attacks, known to doctors as an ST elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI). If blood flow cannot be restored to the heart as soon as possible or the patient could die.
For the study, researchers compared data from 27,270 STEMI patients who arrived at the hospital during off hours and data from 15,972 STEMI patients who arrived during normal business hours. The data came from 447 U.S. hospitals and came from a period from January 2007 to September 2010.
They found that on average, it took take 56 minutes for patients arriving to the emergency room during regular work hours to receive an angioplasty, which is necessary to unblock the blood vessel. But the patients who arrived at the ER in the evenings, weekends or holidays waited an average of 72 minutes for the life-saving procedure.
One reassuring finding: The scientists did find that almost 88 percent of STEMI patients arriving within regular hours, and 79 percent arriving during off hours were treated with angioplasty within the 90-minute period recommended by the American Heart Association.