SUNDAY, Nov. 16, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- A new study finds that patients are more likely to die of a certain type of heart attack if they suffer it in a hospital while being treated for non-cardiac conditions.
At issue are heart attacks known as ST-elevation myocardial infarction, or STEMI. The treatments include opening narrowed arteries with a stent or using medication to dissolve clots.
But health officials haven't focused much on treating patients who suffer these attacks while already in the hospital, the researchers pointed out in their study. The findings were published in the Nov. 19 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, but released Sunday to coincide with the American Heart Association annual meeting in Chicago.
The study authors examined statistics from 2008 to 2011 in California. They found 62,021 cases of these heart attacks in 303 hospitals, including 3,068 that occurred among hospitalized patients not being treated for acute coronary conditions.
Those who developed inpatient-onset STEMI had a 33.6 percent death rate compared to outpatient-onset STEMI, which was 9.2 percent.
The researchers noted that the hospitalized patients who had a STEMI were more frequently older and female.
"The question of how to improve outcomes and define optimum treatment in hospitalized patients who experience a STEMI is an area that merits more attention and concern," the researchers, led by Dr. Prashant Kaul of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, said in a journal news release. "Although there have been improvements in treatment times and clinical outcomes in outpatients who have onset of STEMI, few initiatives have focused on optimizing care of hospitalized patients with onset of STEMI after admission."
For more about heart attack, try the American Heart Association.