Quicker Treatment = Added Longevity

Heart attack patients treated within three hours have better clinical outcomes

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) A study has confirmed that faster treatment for severe heart attack patients results in better clinical outcomes.

Patients that received an artery-opening procedure sooner were 14 percent less likely to die or suffer heart failure.

Onset to balloon time of less than three hours, meaning that patients received angioplasty to clear blocked coronary arteries within 180 minutes of symptoms, was linked to improved longevity among severe heart attack patients.

"Call 9-1-1 immediately for heart attack symptoms."

Hiroki Shiomi, a MD/PhD candidate and researcher at Kyoto University in Japan, evaluated the impact of timely treatment among patients suffering from ST segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI), a severe type of heart attack that involves complete blockage of a coronary artery.

Researchers followed 3,391 STEMI patients receiving angioplasty within 24 hours of the onset of symptoms at one of 26 Japanese hospitals. The patients, who were followed for three years, were participants in a large cohort study.

They found that patients who received angioplasty within three hours were less likely to die or suffer heart failure as compared to treatment past the three-hour mark.

However, they found no difference in risk of death or heart failure when they compared heart attack patients who received treatment in less than 90 minutes of arriving at the hospital to those who received angioplasty more than 90 minutes later.

Researchers did find that patients who arrived at the hospital within two hours of the onset of symptoms and received angioplasty within 90 minutes of arriving at the hospital had a lower risk of death or heart failure.

This benefit disappeared for STEMI patients who arrived at the hospital more than two hours after symptoms began.

Investigators advised that ensuring that STEMI patients seek treatment sooner and that angioplasty is performed more quickly once they arrive at the hospital could improve clinical outcomes.

The study was recently published in the British Medical Journal.

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Review Date: 
May 25, 2012
Last Updated:
May 27, 2012