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Live longer after a heart attack, choose your hospital carefully

Written by Diane Archer

There’s no question that some hospitals are far better than others, so it’s important to choose your hospital carefully. Some hospitals have lower hospital-acquired infection ratesmeaning that you’re less likely to get sick while you’re in those hospitals than in other hospitals. And, new data published in the New England Journal of Medicine reveals that some hospitals are better at having their patients live longer after a heart attack than others.

Researchers found that choosing the right hospital to treat your heart attack can extend your life a full year. They looked at patients who received hospital care for their heart attacks over a 17-year period. Those patients who were treated at hospitals with high quality ratings lived between nine and 14 months longer than patients who were treated at hospitals with low quality ratings.

Most noteworthy, the researchers found that the hospitals that received high scores for keeping heart attack patients from dying at 30 days actually were successful at extending the lives of their patients over the long term. They studied nearly 120,000 Medicare patients at 1,824 hospitals.

What should you do? Plan ahead and know which hospital or hospitals in your community have the best quality ratings. Medicare and other groups help you do so. Also, take advantage of Medicare’s preventive care benefits, including annual cardiovascular screening.  Talk to your doctor about getting them.

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