A new study published in the BMJ has shown that the U.S. mortality rate from heart attacks is “concernedly high” compared to the rates in other high-income countries.
The study compared the United States, Canada, England, the Netherlands, Israel, and Taiwan because these six countries have highly developed healthcare systems and accessible healthcare data. At the same time, these six countries have very different healthcare structures, including finance and organization, and their overall performance in healthcare tends to vary in international rankings. The researchers specifically compared the treatments and outcomes for patients admitted to hospitals for heart attacks.
All six countries had areas of high performance, but none excelled in every area of treatment for heart attacks. In the U.S., there were low rates of hospital readmissions and high rates of successful treatments for blocked coronary arteries. However, the U.S. and Taiwan had substantially higher rates of mortality within one year of being admitted to the hospital for a heart attack than the other countries in the study.
The reason for the high mortality rate in the U.S. is not clear, but the study authors noted that this should be a larger area of focus for doctors and policy makers. The U.S. tends to focus on the latest technology in healthcare, but it may be better to concentrate on basic improvements like studying and lowing mortality rates. It is possible that income disparities, obesity, or lack of adherence to prescribed medication procedures are causing high death rates after patients leave hospitals in the U.S., but this is an area that will require future study.