The Worst Times to Be Treated for a Heart Condition

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Some months, days of the week and even times of day are linked to a greater risk of dying if you have a heart condition.

In a study of nearly 1 million hospital admissions for heart failure over 14 years, researchers were able to pinpoint the times that were associated with the highest risk of death and longest stays in the hospital. The research was presented at the Heart Failure Congress 2013 in Lisbon.

Data on the day, month and hour of hospital admissions for congestive heart failure were collected from New York hospitals between 1994 and 2007. While the number of admissions for heart failure increased through the years, death rates and length of stays declined, which the study authors credit to improved therapies for heart disease.

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On average, however, they found that patients admitted to the hospital in January, on a Friday or overnight ended up spending more time in the hospital and had a greater risk of death from heart failure than those admitted at other times. Although daily admissions for heart failure peaked in February, the majority of in-hospital deaths and longest admissions were recorded in January.

And the best times to be admitted for heart failure? Patients treated on a Monday had the shortest hospital stays and the lowest mortality rates.

The researchers say there might be something to the month, day and time correlations since they adjusted for other factors that contribute to poor outcomes for heart patients, such as heavy alcohol and drug use. They even accommodated for the fact that more people also experience heart attacks during cold weather, but the January, Friday and nighttime associations to early death remained.

It’s possible that staffing issues at hospitals during these times are part of the problem; patients who come into the hospitals just before the weekend and late at night may see fewer nursing staff members and this could contribute to less attention that may impact care.

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So data that highlights spikes in hospital admissions and mortality rates can tip off hospitals and doctors as to what times of year and day may need more vigilance. It’s also helpful for patients with heart issues to be aware of higher risk times for heart events; the study did show, for example, that many people experience problems in February or during the winter months, and that may be attributed to a combination of pressures felt during the holidays and the higher prevalence of colds and flu during that season. “People often avoid coming into the hospital during the holidays because of family pressures and a personal desire to stay at home, but they may be putting themselves in danger,” said study author Dr. David Kao, a fellow of cardiovascular medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. Personnel issues to improve care can be addressed, the authors say, but patients need to know to come to the hospital to receive treatment they need.

5 comments
thewholetruth
thewholetruth

A Coming Heart Attack Warning:

The number one sign of a coming heart attack are constant heavy and tired legs, their are people who live with tired and heavy legs everyday and they are not aware that this signals circulation problems to the heart. The legs assist the heart in circulating blood through out the body. Most people today over 35 have some leg artery plaque blockage " called" PAD, this causes heart attack in millions each year, it is a silent heart attack, everyone over 40 should protect themselves and listen to heavy tired legs

Click here http://peripheralarterydisease.wordpress.com/2013/04/15/peripheral-artery-disease-walking-pain/ 


JenniferHerrera
JenniferHerrera

This is what happens when people are in the healthcare buisiness for money. All the specialist are off on weekends and dont come in till monday fresh eyed and bushy tailed. Why I pray tell? Ask the people at ELSEVIER THE PEOPLE that set the bar on nursing. They produce test when they aren't on vacation and that discipline fosters a enviroment of big headed nurses that do more then half of what a doctor does. The specialists do not work on weekends and they certainly don't care because they stepped on several broke people getting the price they want for a mediocre job half done. News flash AMERICA SUCKS IN HEALTH CARE. Duh.

daphnepier
daphnepier

This article directly identifies a place in the healthcare system with room for improvement. Getting an ambiguous group of heart failure patients to change their health seeking behaviors may be difficult, but the evidence in this study can inspire hospitals to change staffing ratios and staffing responsibilities on the floors where these heart failure patients are dying. I hesitate to say that the article places blame on nursing, but it acknowledges that nurses—the people directly responsible for a patient when they are admitted to the floor, before a doctor can even get to them—are not numerous enough or attentive enough to the patients who are at risk for dying. Numerous studies have shown that patients’ health and satisfaction suffers during shift change (often occurring in the evening or late at night, depending on the shift) at the hand of nurses who have to turn their backs for a moment as care gets transferred to the next person; why are hospitals not making adjustments? Perhaps hospitals should hire “break nurses” like the ones at UCSF Medical Center, nurses specifically hired to attend to patients during times where patients are known to suffer, such as lunch and shift change.