Myocardial Infarction Outcomes Worse in US, Shorter Hospital Stays Could Be a Factor
Patients suffering from myocardial infarction, more commonly known as a heart attack, in the United States are more likely to visit the hospital a second time in the 30 days following the cardiac incident than those in other countries, a new analysis in the Journal of American Medicine, or JAMA, has revealed.
The data was published last week in the medical journal, and stems from a clinical trial in which researchers were attempting to determine the efficacy of treatment with the drug pexelizumab in the thirty-day period following myocardial infarction and its impact on patient survival rates. But what Duke cardiologist Dr. Robb D. Kociol and his team discovered when they reviewed the data collected at more than 300 study sites across 13 European countries, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the US was that American patients would return to the hospital far more frequently during the 30-day study period.
According to the Los Angeles Times, we’re actually messing up the curve when it comes to myocardial infarction outcomes, bringing down everyone else’s average. The paper explains:
In all, 11.3% of patients who were discharged after suffering their heart attacks were readmitted to the hospital within 30 days. The readmission rate for U.S. patients was 14.5%. For patients in other countries, it was 9.9%. Subjects in the United States had 68% increased odds of readmission versus people in other countries, the authors wrote.
So why do you think patients in the US are doing so poorly compared to those in other wealthy nations? It seems again to come down to our profit-centered health care system and resultant shorter hospital stays. While US patients that had suffered myocardial infarction spent a scant three days recovering in a hospital, those in Germany spent eight- and are likelier not to be re-admitted during that 30-day period. Researchers said the information was an “intriguing finding” when reviewing the study.
And what do doctors think needs to happen to correct this? They concede that “the U.S. health care system has features that can be modified to decrease readmission rates.” Do you think it’s time we implemented a single payer system in the US?