How can morbidity and mortality from myocardial infarction (MI, heart attack) be significantly reduced, and what is the key to improved survival?

Updated: May 07, 2019
  • Author: A Maziar Zafari, MD, PhD, FACC, FAHA; Chief Editor: Eric H Yang, MD  more...
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Answer

Morbidity and mortality from MI are significantly reduced if patients and bystanders recognize symptoms early, activate the emergency medical service (EMS) system, and thereby shorten the time to definitive treatment. Trained prehospital personnel can provide life-saving interventions if the patient develops cardiac arrest. The key to improved survival is the availability of early defibrillation. Approximately 1 in every 300 patients with chest pain transported to the emergency department by private vehicle goes into cardiac arrest en route. [66]  In the United States, several studies have confirmed that patients with STEMI usually do not call 911, and only about 40% of patients with a confirmed coronary event used EMS. [67]


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