First up in the news this week is a look at survival rates for ST Elevation Myocardial Infarctions or STEMI heart attacks. If you were asked, you might say that if you’re going to have a STEMI it would be better to be already in the hospital, right? Perhaps not. According to a recent study out of the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, inpatient STEMI survival rates are much lower than out of hospital STEMI.

STEMI Outside Hospital Recognized Rapidly

12Lead_smIf you suffer a STEMI outside of the hospital, EMS is quick to recognize the heart attack, begin treatment and transport you to the correct cardiac care facility in your region. Your survival rate in most areas is 96%. But, if you have the same type of heart attack while admitted to the hospital, your survival rate is only 60%.

Ok, wait a minute, you say. Inpatient populations are sicker and older so of course they are more likely to die than other healthier people. The authors of the research say that even when accounting for those factors, the survival rates are still worse for inpatients. One of the reasons is that EMS and ER staff are more likely to recognize a STEMI and begin rapid treatment protocols that improve those survival rates. Other areas of the hospital are less likely to recognize STEMI pain or symptoms for what they are and may chalk the symptoms up to other causes related to the original hospital diagnosis.

Teamwork and Communication Key for STEMI

This points out the reason for a team treatment approach and the involvement of all staff input and opinions. It also shows the need for all bedside nurses to be aware of the diverse signs and symptoms of STEMI and be proactive with diagnostic referrals like 12-lead ECG and blood work to rule out STEMI early in the assessment and diagnostic process. Let’s give all our patients the best possible chance for survival, both in and out of the hospital setting.

I’ll bet you have an opinion about this study. If you do, let me know by shooting me an email to I look forward to hearing your impressions or comments. You can also leave a comment using the comment link at the bottom of this article. Either way, I’ll make sure to get back to you and respond to your comments.


Make sure you follow-up on the links for this news item and all of the other news and additional resource links from this week’s episode – Nurses Learning From Other Disciplines and Episode 243.


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