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2004 National Healthcare Quality Report

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Time to Initiation of Thrombolytic Therapy for Heart Attack Patients

The necessity of treating patients in a timely fashion within an episode of care is especially important for emergency situations such as heart attacks. Timely administration of thrombolytic agents can save lives for patients suffering from such attacks.

Figure 4.1. Median time (minutes) from arrival of heart attack patient to initiation of thrombolytic agent, by year, 2000-2001 and 2002

Figure 4.1. Median time (minutes) from arrival of heart attack patient to initiation of thrombolytic agent, by year, 2000-2001 and 2002

[D] Select for Text Description.

Source: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Medicare Quality Improvement Organization Program, 1999-2000 and 2000-2001

Note: This measure is assessed for patients with ST segment elevation or left bundle branch block (LBBB) on the electrocardiogram (ECG) performed closest to the hospital arrival time.

  • Between 2000-2001 and 2002, the median time to the initiation of a thrombolytic agent increased slightly but not significantly from 43 to 47 minutes (Figure 4.1).
  • The median time to the initiation of thrombolytic agent exceeds the national standard of 30 minutes15.

Figure 4.2. Variation in median time to initiation of thrombolytic agent across the 50 States, 2000-2001

Figure 4.2. Variation in median time to initiation of thrombolytic agent across the 50 States, 2000-2001

[D] Select for Text Description.

Source: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Medicare Quality Improvement Organization Program, 2000-2001.

  • There is a sevenfold variation in timeliness for the administration of a thrombolytic agent across States, ranging from a low of 20 minutes to a high of 140 minutes (Figure 4.2).

 

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