Posts Tagged ‘hospitals’

Weekend Stroke Victims Receive More Aggressive Treatment

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

January 13, 2010.  Stroke victims brought to a hospital on a weekend are more likely to receive the powerful clot-dissolving drug tPA than those who arrive on a weekday.

Researchers conducted the study following a report showing that aggressive treatment for heart attacks was more likely to be given during the week rather than the weekend.

The heart attack study sent researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina.Kazley searching through the records of almost 79,000 people admitted to Virginia hospitals between 1998 and 2006 with ischemic strokes, in which a clot blocks a brain blood vessel.

The research team found that relatively few patients received tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), which works quickly to break up clots. In fact, only 543 of the 58,378 people admitted on weekdays got the drug, compared to 229 of the 20,279 admitted on weekends. The numbers show that the weekend stroke victims were 20 percent more likely to be given tPA than weekday arrivals.

The findings published in the January issue of the Archives of Neurology explained that because there are fewer elective procedures on weekends, patients have better access to expertise and better access to diagnostic technology such as CT [computed tomography] scanners. They are also more likely to present at an earlier time, since they are less likely to have to battle traffic to get to the hospital.

Despite the higher level of tPA treatment on weekends, no statistical significance in the death rates of the two groups was seen in the study. Only about one percent of patients who got the treatment, and at those low numbers it is very difficult to find a significant difference.

“It is vital for all adults to understand the symptoms of a stroke vital to getting treatment quickly,” explains jesse Slome, executive director of the American Association for Critical Illness insurance.   Stroke symptoms can include a sudden weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body, difficulty speaking, vision trouble, dizziness and headache.

Response Times Vary For In-Hospital Heart Attacks

Monday, August 10th, 2009

Quick defibrillation can increase the chances of survival for hospital patients who have cardiac arrest. But sometimes the treatment is not quick enough.

The American Heart Association recommends that defibrillation, a process in which an electronic device gives the heart an electric shock , be performed within two minutes of cardiac arrest.   Defibrillation helps restore normal contraction rhythms in a heart having dangerous arrhythmia or in cardiac arrest. The longer the delay, the less chance the patient has of surviving.

A new study finds that delays are not due to overloaded or undereducated staff.  Previous studies have linked delays to other factors, such as being admitted to the hospital for something other than heart problems or having cardiac arrest at night or on weekends.

According to study, records from nearly 7,500 adult in-patients with cardiac arrest at 200 U.S. hospitals were analyzed. The hospitals completed a detailed survey that included information about the location, hospital teaching status, number of patient beds and the availability of automatic external defibrillators.

The rates of delayed defibrillation — a delay being longer than two minutes — varied from 2.4 percent to more than 50 percent between hospitals, according to the report published in the July 27 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine.

Differences between hospitals accounted for a great deal of the variation, the researchers found. In one example, patients with identical characteristics had a 46 percent higher chance of having a delayed defibrillation at one hospital compared with another.

Patients at hospitals with fewer defibrillation delays were less likely to die in the hospital. The odds of survival were 41 percent higher in the 25 percent of hospitals with the lowest rates of delays when compared with the 25 percent of hospitals with the most delays, according to the study.