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Entries in Percutaneous Cornonary Intervention (1)

Tuesday
Jun212011

Transfer of Heart Attack Patients Between Hospitals Not Fast Enough

Thinkstock Images/Getty Images(DURHAM, N.C.) -- Heart attack patients who need urgent percutaneous coronary intervention, or widening of heart arteries clogged by plaque, are often transferred from one hospital to another, as 75 percent of U.S. hospitals do not have the capabilities of performing this procedure.  If this transfer has to take place, the American College of Cardiology recommends that it be done in 30 minutes.  A study finds that achieving this transfer time is a rare event, and it’s costing lives.
 
Researchers at the Duke University Medical Center analyzed almost 15,000 patients who were transferred from one hospital to another in order to receive percutaneous coronary intervention.  The average transfer time turned out to be more than double the recommended time period -- 68 minutes.  Furthermore, only 11 percent of the patients were actually transferred in 30 minutes or less.  Slower transfer times had a deleterious effect on patient survival as the in-hospital mortality rate for patients with transfer times over 30 minutes was 5.9 percent compared to the 2.7-percent mortality rate for patients transferred in under 30 minutes.  

The authors conclude that because of the clear health benefits in achieving the 30-minute recommended transfer time, “further attention and improvement of this performance measure will translate into substantial improvement in…clinical outcomes for transferred…patients.”

The Duke University Medical Center analysis is published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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