There has been a significant reduction in the death rates of heart attack patients over a decade in the US following efforts to improve care.
According to researchers, from 1995 to 2006, hospital 30-day death rates decreased significantly for patients hospitalized for a heart attack, as did the variation in the rate between hospitals.
"Over the last 2 decades, health care professional, consumer, and payer organizations have sought to improve outcomes for patients hospitalized with acute myocardial infarction [AMI; heart attack]," wrote the authors.
Lead researcher Dr Harlan M. Krumholz, S.M., of Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Conn. and colleagues examined 30-day mortality among patients, aged 65 years or older (average age, 78 years) who were hospitalized with an AMI.
They found that the all-cause and in-hospital death rates decreased over the study period.
"The 30-day mortality rate decreased from 18.9 percent in 1995 to 16.1 percent in 2006, and in-hospital mortality decreased from 14.6 percent to 10.1 percent," said the authors.
"In contrast, the 30-day mortality rate for all other conditions was 9.0 percent in 1995 and 8.6 percent in 2006," they added.
The 30-day risk-standardized mortality rates (RSMRs) decreased from 18.8 percent in 1995 to 15.8 percent in 2006.
"Between 1995 and 2006, the RSMR for patients admitted with AMI showed a marked and significant decrease, as did between-hospital variation," said the authors.
"Although the cause of the reduction cannot be determined with certainty, this finding may reflect the success of the many individuals and organizations dedicated to improving care during this period," they added.
The study is published in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).