Heart Attack Mortality Rates Decline But Quality of Care Isn’t the Reason

The Journal of the American Medical Association is reporting this week that heart attack mortality rates are declining. However, that decline is not necessarily related to an improved quality of care. JAMA recently looked at medical practices in Sweden over a 12 year period and found that there are certain verifiable factors related to the decline in cardiac mortality rates in hospitals. Some of these factors concern an effective, accurate, and quick diagnosis of a heart attack. Another crucial factor in preventing cardiac deaths involves the prompt treatment of the heart attack victim, especially treatments that re-establish blood flow from blocked arteries.
Failures to diagnose a heart attack or a misdiagnosis can prove fatal to the victim. Texas cardiologist Debabrata Mukherjee noted “There’s a lot of variability among hospitals,” Mukherjee says. “And none of us is perfect. A lot of heart attack patients come in in the middle of the night, at 2 and 3 a.m., when we may not be at our best.”