Coordinating Cardiovascular Care Could Improve Myocardial Infarction Survival

Coordinating care between emergency services and hospitals could reduce fatalities from ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction.

Findings from a recent study suggest that healthcare coordination could increase survival in patients who had an ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI).

This type of heart attack is the deadliest type, since it involves a total blockage of the heart’s blood supply. However, opening the blocked artery can minimize damage and increase survival rates.

This process, called percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), is recommended to be performed within 90 to 120 minutes of the patient’s contact with medical personnel, according to a study published by Circulation.

Up to 50% of patients who have a STEMI do not receive this procedure within the proper time frame, largely due to lack of coordination between emergency services and hospitals. Both also have different treatment protocols.

A project created by the American Heart Association aimed to increase the amount of patients treated within the recommended time. Included in the project were 23,809 patients who had a STEMI.

Also involved were 484 hospitals and 1253 emergency medical service agencies, according to the study. Researchers found that regions that showed large improvements included 45% to 57% of patients who were treated within the guidelines.

In a specific region, researchers found that 75% of patients were treated within the guidelines. Overall, they noted modest increases, likely due to a short time frame, and hesitancy to incorporate the changes needed to operate within the guidelines.

Researchers believe that coordinating emergency cardiovascular protocols between emergency services and hospitals can improve care, reduce emergency department times, and reduce mortality.

“The long-term goal is to have this protocol in place for every STEMI patient who suffers a heart attack in the community,” said study author James G Jollis, MD. “Ultimately, death from heart attack should become a rare event.”