STEMI heart attack patients more likely to be readmitted in the United States

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)