Door-to-balloon times improved from 85 minutes to 74 minutes at PCI hospitals. After the program was established, 72 percent of patients received PCI within 90 minutes.
For patients transferred from a non-PCI hospital to a PCI hospital, door-to-balloon times fell from 160 minutes to 128 minutes, and to 106 minutes for hospitals that routinely transferred for PCI.
Mortality rates were not lowered but the study was not sufficiently powered to see this possible effect, noted study senior author Dr. Christopher B. Granger, director of the cardiac care unit at Duke University Medical Center.
"This is the largest regional STEMI [ST-segment-elevation myocardial infarction] reperfusion system in the U.S.," Granger said. "All of the key times were significantly improved. It shows that application of reperfusion on a large scale is possible and should be a high national priority."
Disappointingly, a third study being presented at the meeting found that teaching self-management skills to heart failure patients brought no additional benefit over enhanced patient education.
However, study co-author Dr. James E. Calvin, of Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, said that "in the patients with the poorest functional capacity [who received both training in self-management skills and education], you can see that there's a significant risk reduction for... death and heart failure hospitalization. Treatment may work in patients who need it."
Visit the American Heart Association for more on high blood pressure.
SOURCES: Sidney Smith, M.D., past president, American Heart Association, professor, medicine, and director, Center for Cardiovascular Science and Medicine, University of North Carolina School
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