Going to the right hospital for a heart attack could add a year to your life, according to a recent study.

Researchers looked at Medicare records for patients who had a heart attack and found that roughly 17 years after heart attack, the average life expectancy was nine to 14 months longer for people who had been treated at hospitals that do the best on widely used quality measures, compared with those treated at low-rated hospitals.

However, if you’re having heart attack symptoms, experts caution not to delay getting help. Minutes matter when you’re having a heart attack – call 9-1-1 immediately if you or a loved one is experiencing chest pain.

Heart Attack Care Has Lasting Effects

In the past, little was known about whether being treated at a high-quality hospital for a heart attack matters in the long-term. This study suggests it does.

The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, compared the life expectancy for 120,000 Medicare patients treated between 1994 and 1996 at about 1,800 hospitals. At 30 days after the heart attack, there was a significant difference in life expectancy for patients treated at the high- vs. low-performing hospitals. That difference for the patient continued over time.

What Does “High Quality” Mean?

“Quality is a term that can be bandied about without any data to support it. But fortunately we have lots of data that we can look at and that we always look at to really reinforce whether we’re doing a good job,” said David Brill, MD, an interventional cardiologist with Adventist HealthCare Adventist Medical Group, who practices at Adventist HealthCare Washington Adventist Hospital. “We exceed the national average and norms in terms of our success rate.”

Washington Adventist Hospital and Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center hold several national distinctions for providing high-quality heart care. Both were recognized as Accredited Chest Pain Centers with PCI by the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care and were awarded the highest ratings for excellence in stroke care by the American Heart Association.

Learn more about Adventist HealthCare’s excellent heart care at www.AdventistHealthCare.com/heart.

Source: The Washington Post