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U.S. Heart Attack Patients Readmitted Most Often: Study
Date:1/4/2012

t attacks, according to background information in the article, and the coronary artery is completely blocked by a clot in these cases.

The study included 5,745 people from 296 hospitals in 17 countries who were admitted for a STEMI. Most (5,571) survived to be discharged from the hospital. Of those, 11.3 percent overall ended up being readmitted within 30 days.

Thirty-day readmission rates in the United States were 14.5 percent, but just 9.9 percent in the other countries in the study. The average length of stay was three days in the United States compared with eight days in Germany, the country with the longest average length of stay.

People who had multi-vessel disease, which means they had more than one blockage leading to the heart, were almost twice as likely to be readmitted to the hospital within 30 days, according to the study.

The other significant predictor of readmission within 30 days was being in the United States. After excluding people returning to the hospital to have additional elective procedures, people admitted in the United States had a 53 percent greater chance of being readmitted within 30 days vs. people in other countries.

After adjusting the data to account for differences in the patients, such as age and underlying health conditions, the researchers found a 14.4 percent readmission rate in the United States vs. a 9.3 percent rate for all of the other countries. Italy had the lowest readmission rates at 4.4 percent, followed closely by Germany at 4.8 percent. Canada had a 5.6 percent adjusted readmission rate, according to the study.

"This study compared the U.S. against 16 other countries and asked how do we [the U.S.] measure up? And, their findings were a little disturbing. About 60 percent of patients with major heart attacks were discharged in three days or less. And, our readmission rates were higher than in other countries. We have the technology and the ability to provide quality care, but we'r
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