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Failure of current public educational campaigns to impact on the initial response of patients with possible heart attack

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Abstract Aims: 

The National Heart Foundation of Australia recognizes that the risk of lethal arrhythmias is greater very early after the onset of myocardial infarction and that the more promptly flow can be restored in the infarct-related artery the greater will be the benefits for survival and preservation of heart function. The Heart Foundation has therefore conducted several public media campaigns to encourage patients to seek help more promptly and evaluated their impact. Methods: 

Since 1996, we have conducted four surveys of delays preceding admission of patients to coronary care units throughout Australia to assess the impact of the Heart Foundation's media campaigns. Data were collected on 1665 patients who presented to 73 hospitals; information on patient delay was available for 1178 of them. Results: 

There were no significant differences in patient delay (median 1.5–2.0 h) in the four surveys from 1996 to 2002, nor when patients were categorized by age, sex, presenting diagnosis or history of previous myocardial infarction or coronary revascularization by percutaneous or surgical techniques. Conclusion: 

New approaches are needed to reduce patient-related delay after the onset of symptoms suggesting possible myocardial infarction. (Intern Med J 2005; 35: 279–282)
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Keywords: delay; health education; mass media; myocardial infarction

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2005

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