More hospitals meet faster emergency heart care standards

Hospitals across the country are treating more heart attack patients within the recommended time frame than five years ago, according to study published in Circulation, an American Heart Association journal.

In 2005, only 44 percent of heart attack patients received emergency angioplasty within 90 minutes. Whereas last year, 91 percent were treated in less than 90 minutes, and 70 percent were treated in less than 75 minutes, notes the Wall Street Journal's Health Blog

What's more, the median door-to-balloon time--how long it takes for heart attack patients to receive treatment after arrival--dropped from 96 minutes in 2005 to 64 minutes in 2010, according to the study.

Some hospitals are delivering emergency heart care even faster, with Yale-New Haven Hospital in Connecticut this month treating one heart attack patient in 26 minutes and another in only 16 minutes.

Lead study author Dr. Harlan Krumholz, a Yale cardiologist, highlighted that hospitals significantly sped up emergency heart care without incentives or threat of punishment.

The improvement came from a "bottom-up" approach, with top hospitals sharing their methods of faster door-to-balloon times. Government and private groups explained which strategies speed treatment and encouraged hospitals to adopt them, noted Krumholz .

For more information:
- here's the study abstract
- read the WSJ Health Blog post
- read the Associated Press article