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One in 14 men having a heart attack drive themselves to hospital

Seven per cent of men having a heart attack drove themselves to hospital and only 60 per cent went by ambulance, according to research published in the latest Journal of Advanced Nursing.

The study, which looked at 890 heart attack patients admitted to six major teaching hospitals in Dublin, Southern Ireland, also found that it took women five times as long as men to go to casualty departments after their symptoms first started. But only one per cent got behind the wheel and drove to the hospital.

"Driving during a heart attack is obviously extremely dangerous for both the driver and the general public" says lead author Sharon O'Donnell from the City's Trinity College.

"People who drove themselves to the hospital said they did it because it was the quickest way to get to the hospital, they felt well enough to make the journey and they would have pulled over if necessary.

"However, many also reported that they felt they were going to collapse when they arrived in the casualty department.

The average time it took women to get to hospital after the onset of initial symptoms was 14 hours, compared with 2.8 hours for men.

"Even when their symptoms got bad, it still took women 3.1 hours to get there, compared with 1.8 hours for men" points out Dr O'Donnell.

A previous paper by the team, on what happened to the same patients when they actually arrived at the Irish hospitals, found that women waited longer than men to be admitted and treated.

"This means that women not only took longer to be treated when they got to the hospital, they also took considerably longer to get there in the first case" says Dr O'Donnell. "Prompt treatment is essential in heart attacks and these delays mean that women are more likely to suffer complications."

Key findings from the home to hospital study ?which comprised 277 women and 613 men - included:

  • 49 per cent of women and 30 per cent of men were referre
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Source:Blackwell Publishing Ltd.


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