Thursday News Tips

April 29, 2015 Categories: Scientific Conferences & Meetings

Tip headlines:

  • Heart attack patients live longer when admitted to hospitals with lower death rates

  • Acute stroke patients receive clot-busting treatment despite language barriers

Please note specific embargo times for each tip listed below.  All times ET.

UPDATED EMBARGO Embargoed for 5 p.m. ET, Wednesday, April 29, 2015 – Abstract 369

Heart attack patients live longer when admitted to hospitals with lower death rates

Heart attack patients admitted to hospitals with low 30-day death rates for heart attacks live longer than those admitted to hospitals that have comparably high 30-day death rates post heart attack, according to a study from the American Heart Association’s Quality of Care and Outcomes Research 2015 Scientific Session being published in the AHA Journal, Circulation, Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

Hospitals often are assessed on the rate at which heart attack patients die within 30 days of admission. Hospitals with low 30-day risk standardized mortality rates, are considered high-performing. Hospitals with high mortality rates are considered low-performing.

Researchers analyzed a study of nearly 120,000 Medicare patients with heart attack, who were admitted to 1,824 U.S. hospitals. The study included 17 years of patient follow-up. They found:

  • Patients’ life expectancy declined as mortality rates increased.

  • Patients admitted to hospitals in the highest tenth of performing hospitals lived an average 6.44 years after heart attack, whereas, those admitted to the lowest tenth performing hospitals lived an average 5.54 years after heart attack.

  • After accounting for differences in patient populations such as other diseases and conditions, between high- and low-performing hospitals, patients treated in low-performing hospitals lost an average of 1.12 more years after heart attack than patients treated in high-performing institutions.

  • When patients who survived the first 30 days after heart attack were reviewed separately, there was no difference in life expectancy between patients admitted to high- and low-performing hospitals.

The survival benefit of being admitted to a high-performing hospital occurs in the first 30 days and persists with time, researchers said.

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute funded this study.

Emily M. Bucholz, M.P.H., M.D., Yale Schools of Medicine and Public Health, New Haven, Conn.

UPDATED EMBARGO Embargoed for 5 p.m. ET, Wednesday, April 29, 2015 – Abstract 181

Acute stroke patients received clot-busting treatment despite language barriers

Acute ischemic stroke patients who didn’t speak English well were still properly treated with clot busters despite the language barrier, according to a study from the American Heart Association’s Quality of Care and Outcomes Research 2015 Scientific Session being published in the AHA Journal, Circulation, Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

Researchers studied information on nearly 3,900 acute ischemic stroke patients who took part in the Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke program at Massachusetts General Hospital from 2003 to 2014. More than 9 percent of the patients primarily spoke a language other than English (representing 25 languages) and were noted as having limited English proficiency.

Researchers found patients with limited English proficiency were more likely to receive the clot-busting drug tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) than patients who spoke English. They attributed this primarily to the fact that language barrier patients experienced more severe strokes.

This study emphasizes the importance of routinely using standardized measure of care to help identify patients who could benefit from receiving tPA, regardless of their cultural backgrounds or their ability to communicate with clinicians in a common language, researchers said. Furthermore, the researchers emphasized the importance of consistently including professional medical interpreters to contribute to excellent stroke care for people with limited English proficiency.

This study received no outside funding.

Nicte I. Mejia, M.D. M.P.H., assistant professor of neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Mass.

Additional Resources:

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Statements and conclusions of study authors that are presented at American Heart Association scientific meetings are solely those of the study authors and do not necessarily reflect association policy or position. The association makes no representation or warranty as to their accuracy or reliability. The association receives funding primarily from individuals; foundations and corporations (including pharmaceutical, device manufacturers and other companies) also make donations and fund specific association programs and events. The association has strict policies to prevent these relationships from influencing the science content. Revenues from pharmaceutical and device corporations are available at www.heart.org/corporatefunding.

For Media Inquiries:

Michael Burton: (214) 706-1236; Michael.Burton@heart.org

Cathy Lewis: (214) 706-1324; Cathy.Lewis@heart.org

For Public Inquiries: (800) AHA-USA1 (242-8721)

heart.org and strokeassociation.org 

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