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US has highest rate of deaths after heart attack

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You’re more likely to die from a heart attack in the US than in other countries—despite the high-tech medical paraphernalia in a typical American hospital that’s designed to save your life.

The US’s mortality rate ranks with Taiwan, and is worryingly high, say researchers.

“The US seems to focus really hard on those technologically advanced new and shiny things. . .when we should focus more on the mortality rate instead of getting people in and out of hospital,” said Peter Cram, who helped create the International Health System Research Collaborative, which has reviewed outcomes following a heart attack.

They compared survival rates in the US, Canada, England, the Netherlands, Israel and Taiwan, chosen because they have advanced healthcare systems and good data backup.

The in-hospital care was good across the States, the researchers said, and rates of cardiac revascularization—a procedure to unblock coronary arteries—were among the highest of the countries they reviewed.  

But despite these interventions, more Americans were dying from heart disease within a year of leaving hospital.  

By comparison, the Netherlands and England had low rates of revascularization, but also some of the lowest mortality levels.

Israel was the only country to hit the sweet spot, of higher levels of revascularization and low mortality levels.

(Source: BMJ, 2022; e069164)

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Article Topics: death, heart
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