A recent paper by Atshushi Sorita, et al., found that mortality was higher for patients with acute myocardial infarction admitted during "off-hours" (nights and weekends) compared with regular hours. The meta-analysis of 48 studies included 1.9 million heart attack patients from the United States, Canada and Europe.
These findings support the need for systems of care to improve response times to help people get prompt, appropriate treatment. This is precisely what the American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline focuses on — reducing the time from first medical contact to reperfusion to restore blood flow. Mission: Lifeline now covers overs 70 percent of all Americans and specifically addresses the challenges of potential differences in morbidity and mortality depending on location or time of day.
"This study clearly re-emphasizes the message of the American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline program," said Gray Ellrodt, M.D., chairman of the American Heart Association Mission: Lifeline Advisory Working Group and chairman of the Department of Medicine, Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield, Mass. "Health systems must develop comprehensive cardiovascular systems of care for their communities. These systems must coordinate care from prompt patient and family recognition of the symptoms of a heart attack, rapid EMS response, and early activation of the health system cardiovascular emergency response system. These systems are highly reliable and are able to promptly reperfuse patients wherever and whenever they present in the shortest possible time from onset of symptoms."