Certain heart attack patients in the United States are more likely to be readmitted to the hospital within 30 days of discharge than in 16 other industrialized countries, according to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The study examined data from 17 industrialized countries for patients who were admitted for ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI), a heart attack where the coronary artery is completely blocked.
The study found that thirty-day readmission rates for STEMI patients were 14.5% in the U.S., compared to 9.9% in the other nations. The length of stay was shorter for U.S. patients, at 3 days, compared to 6, 7, 8, or more in other countries.
The authors conclude that U.S. physicians need to ensure that STEMI patients receive follow-up care after being discharged from the hospital.
(Sources: The Advisory Board Daily Briefing, http://advisory.com, January 5, 2012; Journal of the American Medical Association, http://jama.ama-assn.org, January 2012, Reuters, http://www.reuters.com/, January 3, 2012)