-- Robert Preidt
MONDAY, Feb. 28 (HealthDay News) -- A new study finds that heart
attack patients with a history of depression are less likely than
other heart attack patients to receive priority care at emergency
Canadian researchers analyzed data on 6,874 heart attack
patients admitted to 96 hospitals in the province of Ontario
between April 2004 and March 2005. Of these patients, 680 had a
history of depression recorded in their medical charts. Of those,
39 percent were assigned a low priority triage score in the
emergency departments, compared with 32.7 percent of the other
heart attack patients.
The heart attack patients with depression were also more likely
to experience delays in diagnostic testing and care, the
researchers also found.
"Interestingly, other components of the medical history, including the traditional cardiac risk factors of diabetes, smoking, hypercholesterolemia and hypertension, were not associated with triage score in the models; only depression affected the score," wrote Dr. Clare Atzema, of the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences in Toronto, and colleagues.
This lower priority given to heart attack patients with
depression may be due to emergency department staff assuming that
the patients' symptoms are anxiety-related rather than due to a
heart attack, the researchers said.
They noted that fewer than 10 percent of patients who arrive at
emergency departments with chest pain, shortness or breath and
other heart attack symptoms are actually having a heart attack.
Therefore, staff look for other possible causes of the
"We suspect that mistriage of these patients is not due to purposeful discrimination by emergency department staff, but rather that most emergency department staff are unaware of data that suggests a link between depression and coronary artery disease," the researchers wrote in a news release from the Canadian Medical Association Journal, which published the research.
Education of staff could solve this problem, they suggested.
The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has more
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Copyright © EBSCO Publishing. All rights reserved.