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Where You're Treated for Heart Attack Matters

Study finds survival difference of about one year between high- and low-performing hospitals

THURSDAY, April 30, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Heart attack patients live longer if they're treated at high-performing hospitals -- those with lower 30-day death rates, a new study indicates.

Hospitals are often rated based on the percentage of heart attack patients who die within 30 days of admission, the researchers noted. Hospitals with high 30-day death rates are considered low-performing, explained the researchers led by Dr. Emily Bucholz, of Yale University's Schools of Medicine and Public Health, in New Haven, Conn.

For this study, she and her colleagues looked at data on nearly 12,000 Medicare patients admitted to more than 1,800 hospitals across the United States for treatment of a heart attack.

Patients treated at hospitals in the highest tenth of performance lived an average of about six years after their heart attack, compared with about five years for those treated at hospitals in the lowest tenth of performance, they found.

The study was published April 29 in the American Heart Association journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

The findings, based on 17 years of follow-up, show that the initial benefits of being treated in a high-performing hospital last much longer than the first 30 days, the researchers said.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about heart attack.

SOURCE: American Heart Association, news release, April 30, 2015
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