A survey of treatment routines and educational level of health care providers in the initial phase of suspected acute myocardial infarction in Sweden in 1994. Swedish Working Group on Early Heart Attack Care.
The aim of this survey was to explore treatment routines with regard to early heart attack care at various hospitals in Sweden. All the hospitals in Sweden with a coronary care unit or its equivalent were sent a postal enquiry about early heart attack care including use of various medications and educational level of health care providers. In all, 84 of 86 hospitals (98%) answered the enquiry. Prior to hospital admission, 10% of the hospitals used thrombolytic agents, 10% used beta-blockers and 55% used aspirin. In only 4% of hospitals was thrombolytic treatment initiated in the emergency department and in 17% beta-blockers were initiated. The proportion of acute myocardial infarction (AMI) patients who received thrombolytic treatment varied from 10% to more than 80%, with a mean value of 41%. The proportion of AMI patients who received intravenous beta-blockade varied from 0 to 93%, with a mean value of 24%. This survey indicates that the vast majority of hospitals in Sweden use thrombolytic agents in more than 30% of AMI patients and aspirin in more than 80% of AMI patients. The use of intravenous beta-blockade is lower than expected. Considering the strong association between the delay before instituting therapy and outcome, it is surprising that treatment is not initiated more frequently outside hospital or in the emergency department.