18 percent of heart attack patients taken to hospital on ambulance: Research

18 percent of heart attack patients taken to hospital on ambulance: Research

Mesude Erşan – ISTANBUL
18 percent of heart attack patients taken to hospital on ambulance: Research

Only 18 percent of those suffering a heart attack are taken to hospital with an ambulance, according to a research undertaken by the Turkish Cardiology Foundation.

In 42 percent of the cases, relatives or acquaintances take the patients to the hospital “using their own means,” according to the research.

The research’s findings were revealed during the 35th Turkish Cardiology Congress organized by the foundation.

The foundation head, Prof. Dr. Mustafa Kemal Erol, said that people undergoing a heart attack “must be absolutely” taken to a hospital by calling the emergency hotline 112 and asking for an ambulance.

“Our people, thinking that waiting for an ambulance wastes their time, are bringing the patients to the hospitals with their own private cars. But the results of this research have shown that when the 112 hotline is called, ambulances reach the patient in 15 minutes. And with the ambulance reaching the patient, the health staff starts the treatment right there, right then,” he said.

The professor said that in 40 percent of the cases, relatives or acquaintances of the patients take them to a hospital that does not have a coronary angiography unit, which results in a huge delay in terms of starting the treatment. In such cases, the patient is again transferred to hospital that is equipped with a coronary angiography unit. Such a journey costs the relevant patient an extra 90 minutes, according to the professor. “Our patients are losing their very important golden hours during this period,” Erol said.

“The ambulance does not take the patient to the closest hospital, but instead to the one that has a coronary angiography unit and can open their heart vein. Since the hospital is informed [of the situation], a team is waiting there ready, and the patient, without stopping by the emergency unit, is taken to the coronary lab and their vein is opened. Their lives are saved. This research shows that on average in 35 minutes, and that is a very good time, the heart vein of the patient is opened,” he said.

The research based its results on 1,930 patient records who were hospitalized in a total of 50 hospitals across Turkey between the period of Nov. 1-15, 2018. The research looked at the starting time of the patients’ complaints, how the patients reached the hospital, how long it took the doctors to intervene in the patient case in the hospital and what kind of methods they used.

A heart attack occurs when blood is blocked from flowing to the heart. When this happens, heart muscle cells don’t get the oxygen they need. This damages the heart and cells begin to die. The damage can happen within minutes. But it can be lessened if the patient seeks emergency treatment right away.