More heart attack patients could be saved if treated as soon as possible after admission to hospital, suggests a new research.
Researchers base in the U.S. have called for an 'as soon as possible' treatment standard to be implemented after their study indicated that mortality rates could be significantly reduced by treating heart attack patients 'as soon as possible'.
Following a heart attack, patients often undergo a procedure using a balloon-tipped catheter that is inserted into a main artery, pushed into the narrowed coronary artery, and inflated to clear the blockage.
The time elapsed between a patient's arrival at hospital and first balloon inflation is known as the "door-to-balloon time" with the current target set at 90 minutes.
But after analysing the data of 43,801 patients from the American College of Cardiology's national cardiovascular data registry who underwent balloon angioplasty within 12 hours of a heart attack between 2005 and 2006, researchers found a delay in "door-to-balloon time" is associated with a higher mortality rate.
Some three per cent of patients with door-to-balloon times of 30 minutes died in hospital, while 4.3 per cent of patients with door-to-balloon times of 90 minutes died. The highest mortality rate (10.3 per cent) was found in patients with door-to-balloon times of 270 minutes.
The average door-to-balloon time was found to 83 minutes, with over half of patients (58 per cent) treated within 90 minutes of admission.
"Rather than accepting the 90 minute door-to-balloon time benchmark, our data support calls for an 'as soon as possible' standard for patients undergoing primary percutaneous coronary intervention," the authors said.
"Such an approach, using necessary safeguards against inappropriate treatment, offers the potential for notable mortality reduction," they added.
The study appears on bmj.com.