Journal 4, April 2003pages: 255-259
Background: Although the preferred management of a patient presenting with an acute myocardial infarction is in a coronary care unit, data based on discharge diagnoses in Israel indicate that many of these patients are treated outside such units.
Objectives: To compare the demographic and clinical characteristics, treatment and mortality of AMI patients treated inside and outside a CCU.
Methods: We compiled a registry of all patients admitted to three general hospitals in Haifa, Israel during January, March, May, July, September and November 1996.
Results: The non-CCU admission rate was 22%. CCU patients were younger (61.6 vs. 65.5 years), less likely to report a past AMI (18% vs. 34%), and arrived earlier at the emergency room. Non-CCU patients were more likely to present with severe heart failure (30 vs. 11%). Non-CCU patients received less aspirin (81 vs. 95%) and beta-blockers (62 vs. 80%). Upon discharge, these patients were less frequently prescribed beta-blockers and cardiac rehabilitation programs. CCU-treated patients had lower unadjusted mortality rates at both 30 days (odds ratio=0.35) and in the long term (hazards ratio=0.57). These ratios were attenuated after controlling for gender, age, type of AMI, and degree of heart failure (OR=0.91 and HR=0.78, respectively).
Conclusions: A relatively high proportion of AMI patients were treated outside a CCU, with older and sicker patients being denied admission to a CCU. The process of evidence-based care by cardiologists was preferable to that of internists both during the hospital stay and at discharge. In Israel a significant proportion of all AMI admissions are initially treated outside a CCU. Emphasis on increasing awareness in internal medicine departments to evidence-based care of AMI is indicated.
 AMI = acute myocardial infarction
 CCU = coronary care unit
 OR = odds ratio
 HR = hazards ratio