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Time of Day, Week and Month Influences Heart Attack Survival Rate

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Time of Arrival at Hospital Influences Heart Attack Survival

It’s important to recognize the signs of a heart attack: chest discomfort that stays and won’t go away or goes away and returns a few minutes later; discomfort in other areas of the body; shortness of breath; and other signs.  If you experience any of these signs, it’s crucial that you get to the hospital right away.  However, did you know that time of the day, week and even month that you arrive at the hospital could mean the difference between life and death from a heart attack?

New Study Finds Weekends, Holidays and Nighttime are the Worst for Heart Attack Survival

New research from the American Heart Association found that individuals who have a heart attack and arrive at the hospital on a weekend, holiday or at nighttime were at a 13% increased risk of dying compared to patients who arrive at other times.  When arriving at a hospital, a patient having a heart attack must have surgery to restore blood flow to the heart as quickly as possible or receive intravenous medication.  The American Heart Association looked at data from over 447 hospitals in the U.S. and found that it took an average of 56 minutes for heart attack patients to receive the surgery, an angi0plasty, during regular business hours.  In comparison, patients arriving on holidays, weekends or at night waited an average of 72 minutes for this life-saving procedure.

American Heart Association Recommends Intervention Within 90 Minutes

Although the increased risk of dying for patient arriving during “irregular” business hours and times is disheartening, the researchers also found that 88% of the patients in the study nevertheless received an angioplasty within 90 minutes of arriving at the hospital.  The study also found that time of day did not influence whether heart attack patients received aspirin treatment in a timely manner; had an electrocardiogram imaging test; or were given clot-busting medications.  Because of these findings, the main study author concluded that hospitals in the U.S. have met the American Heart Association’s: Lifeline Guidelines.