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Some Hospital Stays Too Long

European hospitals hold heart attack patients longer than necessary

FRIDAY, Feb. 13, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- Some heart attack patients in Europe spend too much time recovering in the hospital, claims a study in this week's issue of The Lancet.

New research suggests low-risk heart attack patients can be safely discharged from hospital after four days.

In this study, Canadian researchers examined hospital discharge data from 1990 to 1998 of more than 50,000 heart attack patients in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, France, Belgium, Spain, and Poland.

The rate of early discharge for these patients was consistently less than 2 percent in the European countries. And although rate of early discharge for low-risk heart attack patients in the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand increased, no more than 40 percent of the heart attack patients eligible for early hospital discharge in these countries were actually sent home early.

"Despite more than a decade of research, there is still a lot of variation between countries in international length-of-stay patterns in acute myocardial infarction. The potential for more efficient discharge of low-risk patients still exists in all countries investigated, but was especially evident in European countries included in the study," study author Padma Kaul, of Alberta University, says in a prepared statement.

More information

Here's where you can learn more about heart attack recovery.

SOURCE: The Lancet, news release, Feb. 13, 2004
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