News | February 24, 2012

Emergency Department Admissions Down for Heart Attack, Up for Stroke

David Seaberg, M.D., CPE, FACEP, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP)

February 24, 2012 — A new report released today by HealthGrades found that from 2008 to 2010, emergency admissions for heart attack decreased slightly (1.7 percent) for Medicare patients, but admissions for stroke increased by 2.2 percent. Heart attack and stroke were among the conditions with the highest mortality rates, with nearly one in 10 heart attack patients dying, and nearly one in 10 stroke patients (9.24 percent) dying, after admission to the hospital.

David Seaberg, M.D., CPE, FACEP, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), said the information is useful for tracking mortality rates for heart attack and stroke patients who are admitted to the hospital, although the report itself is a measure of inpatient hospital care, not emergency care.

"The information about heart attack and stroke admissions is not surprising," said Seaberg. "Emergency physicians encourage all adults, especially seniors, to know the warning signs of stroke and heart attack. It's important to err on the side of caution, call 911 and get to the nearest emergency department as soon as possible if you think you're having a stroke or heart attack."

According to the report, nearly 61 percent of hospital admissions among seniors begin in the emergency department, more than any other age group.

The new data are being released in HealthGrades "2012 Emergency Medicine in American Hospitals" report, in which they rank the nation's top hospitals.

Seaberg added that the emergency department is the safety net of the entire health care system and the first stop for millions entering a hospital each year in search of care.

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