Educational intervention can reduce delays in getting to hospital
PATIENTS at risk of a heart attack who were given a simple 40-minute advice session improved their chances of spotting warning signs and getting to hospital quicker.
The findings, which emerged in a new study, published in the 'Journal of Emergency Medicine', show how the simple, individualised educational session dramatically improved the amount of time it took patients who experienced symptoms of acute coronary syndrome (ACS) to present to the emergency department.
Acute coronary syndrome includes heart attack and unstable angina, the researchers at the School of Nursing and Midwifery, Trinity College Dublin, pointed out.
The study took place over three years in five major Dublin hospitals and involved patients who were diagnosed with acute coronary syndrome and were then readmitted to an emergency department with unresolved ACS symptoms.
The patients who received the specially designed 40-minute educational session on later readmission presented much faster (within 1.7 hours) to a hospital emergency department. This compared to those who did not receive the educational intervention and instead took 7.1 hours to seek help.
It meant a 62pc improvement among the patients who received the educational intervention, compared to the first time they presented with acute coronary syndrome.
Mary Mooney, assistant prof and lecturer at the School of Nursing and Midwifery, Trinity College Dublin, said: "Individuals who survive acute coronary syndrome events are more likely to sustain further events in the future.
Early hospitalisation is crucial to optimise diagnosis and management of these events.
"Patients who are experiencing a heart attack should receive life-saving medical treatment as quickly as possible, and ideally within one hour of symptom onset," she said.
"An individualised educational intervention, such as the one given in this study, can significantly reduce pre-hospital delay time, which can in turn reduce mortality and morbidity."
"There are many reasons why patients delay going to the emergency department when they experience acute coronary syndrome symptoms.
"Through behavioural change and motivational techniques, the educational session helped the patients to focus on and deal with some of those reasons and develop an action plan for what they would do should they experience symptoms again."