Heart Attack Death Rate Drops

Heart Attack Death Rate Drops

Reported August 24, 2009

(Ivanhoe Newswire) — Death rates for Medicare patients hospitalized for heart attack decreased significantly from 1995 to 2006, according to a new study. “Over the last 2 decades, health care professional, consumer, and payer organizations have sought to improve outcomes for patients hospitalized with acute myocardial infarction [AMI or heart attack],” the authors wrote.

Harlan M. Krumholz, M.D., S.M., of Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Conn., and colleagues examined 30-day risk-standardized mortality rates (RSMR) for Medicare patients 65 years or older (average age, 78 years) who were hospitalized with an AMI in acute care hospitals in the U.S. in the period between 1995 and 2006. The study included data on 3,195,672 discharges in 2,755,370 patients.



Researchers found the all-cause and in-hospital death rates decreased over the study period. “The 30-day mortality rate decreased from 18.9 percent in 1995 to 16.1 percent in 2006, and in-hospital mortality decreased from 14.6 percent to 10.1 percent. In contrast, the 30-day mortality rate for all other conditions was 9.0 percent in 1995 and 8.6 percent in 2006.” The RSMR, which takes into account the differences in the types of patients across hospitals and is currently being used by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to profile hospital performance, decreased from 18.8 percent in 1995 to 15.8 percent in 2006, and a reduction in differences in mortality rates between hospitals was also observed.

“Between 1995 and 2006, the RSMR for patients admitted with AMI showed a marked and significant decrease, as did between-hospital variation. Although the cause of the reduction cannot be determined with certainty,” the authors concluded, “this finding may reflect the success of the many individuals and organizations dedicated to improving care during this period.”

SOURCE: Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), August 19, 2009