Plenary Session III
DALLAS, Nov. 9 -- The amount of time people delay in deciding to seek care for heart attack symptoms may be declining.
This is a key finding from the Rapid Early Action for Coronary Treatment, or REACT, trial presented today at the American Heart Association's 71st Scientific Sessions.
The study, funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, tested community campaigns to reduce the time people delay seeking emergency care for heart attack in 20 medium-sized cities in five regions of the country. The 18-month campaign was conducted in half the cities, and the other half served as controls in the 22-month study.
"A number of studies since the 1980s have shown that educational programs can shorten the time people delay in calling emergency medical services and hospital emergency departments," says Russell V. Luepker, M.D., who presented the study results in a plenary session. "But this is the first to show marked improvement in patient delay all across the country."
During the 1990s, median delays had been between three and four hours -- half the individuals delay longer and half delayed less than three to four hours. The REACT study examined the influence of media campaigns in educating the public about heart attack symptoms and the need for rapid action. Programs for heart professionals and people at high risk for heart attack were included with general community intervention. The study was conducted in 20 cities in 10 states including Alabama, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin.
REACT found median delay of 2.2 hours, far lower than most U.S. studies have found.
"That's very good news," Luepker, says. "It shows that there is now likely significant improvement in patients seeking care earlier."