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Readmission Rates for Heart Attack Patients Higher in the United States

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Heart Attack related image Photo: Getty Images

ST segment elevation myocardial infarction or STEMI is a particular type of heart attack that’s caused when the blood supply to the heart has been blocked for a very long period of time. STEMI heart attacks generally cause damage to the large areas of the heart muscles.

As a result, they cause changes both in chemical markers in the blood as well as electrocardiograms or ECGs. By some estimates, STEMI heart attacks are responsible for 29 to 38 percent of all heart attacks.

While health care is certainly good in the United States, it may not be the best place to be if you suffer a STEMI heart attack.

According to the results of a recent study published in the January 4, 2012 issue of JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association, STEMI heart attack patients in the United States have a higher rate of readmittance to the hospital after 30 days than heart attack patients in other countries.

The day 30 mark for readmission to the hospital after a STEMI heart attack is a measure which has been promoted to gauge patient care.

One of the problems with using a 30-day measure as a gauge of heart attack patient care was the lack of research regarding international readmission rates. To obtain information on international readmission rates, a team of researchers led by Robb D. Kociol, M.D., of Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C., examined data results from 5,571 participants in the Assessment of Pexelizumab in Acute Myocardial Infarction study.

The Pexelizumab study was a large multinational study with data collected on STEMI patients in 296 sites encompassing 17 different countries. Data was collected from July, 2004 to May, 2006.

After analyzing the data, researchers found that the 30-day readmittance rate for heart attack patients in the United States was almost 15 percent compared with nearly 10 percent for participants located in other countries.

Other findings included:

• Patients with multi-vessel heart disease were twice as likely to be readmitted as those without multi-vessel heart disease.

• Patients in the United States had 68 percent risk of readmission over those in other countries.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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