North Carolina Is Among States Trying To Speed Up Heart Attack Care

If you're going to have a heart attack, North Carolina is considered the place where you might survive it.

A statewide project, considered the most ambitious in the nation, has put a focus on getting patients faster care. Results reporting at an American Heart Association meeting in Florida today showed what one Yale cardiologist calls "magnificent" results.

In the project, 55 small hospitals agreed to send appropriate patients to 10 larger ones where they could get an angioplasty. The procedure re-opens clogged arteries with a tiny balloon, but many small hospitals lack the specialized suites needed for the work.

Researchers compared the care of more than 2,000 patients before
and after the project began. Among their findings: more patients got care at top heart hospitals and got it more quickly.

Neighboring states have also benefited. One patient from
Virginia who lives near the North Carolina border says he was on
his floor having a heart attack at 1:30. He was flown to Duke
University Medical Center and finished with his angioplasty within
two hours.