Regional Health Care Systems Getting Better At Treating Severe Heart Attacks
ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI), better known in layman’s terms as a “severe heart attack” have often been hard to treat because many hospitals have not been setup to take on the worst of heart attack cases. Now a study in the United States has revealed that an increasing number of regional care systems are receiving the assistance they need to quickly identify, treat or transfer patients with STEMI.
STEMI is the most deadly form of heart attack which hits almost 300,000 people each year in the United States. STEMI is caused when a blood clot completely blocks an artery to the heart. To save a patients life blood flow must quickly be restored.
To successfully fight such a severe case of myocardial infarction ambulances must be outfitted with specialized equipment to diagnosis the heart attack on the way to the hospital while fixing the issue often involves teh artery-opening procedure called percutaneous coronary intervention, aka angioplasty.
The study conducted by the American Heart Association included 381 regional STEMI-care systems that included 900 hospitals in 47 states. The study found that at least one hospital in each system performs angioplasty.
Researchers also found that 67 percent of the STEMI systems follows standard procedures such as admitting a patient even when a bed is not available, placing a single call to open the catheterization lab for angioplasty, the ability to open the catheterization lab without first consulting with a cardiologist and being part of a data collection registry.
The survey found that 67 percent of the systems were in urban areas and most followed standard procedures and policies, such as:
You can read the full study about improvements to teh ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction system in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.