Millions of heart attack patients are rushed to the hospital every year. The good news is fewer of those people are dying today and more are going home again after treatment.
A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association compares hospital death rates among heart patients between 1999 and 2006, In just those seven years, the odds of surviving a heart attack are improving dramatically.
"We saw a 50 percent reduction in hospital death for acute coronary artery syndromes. That is a magnificent change, partly because of the inpatient care getting better and partly because the effort at discharge to make sure the patients were on the right medications and had the right lifestyle and follow-up plans," said Kim Eagle, of the University of Michigan Health System.
After taking part in this world-wide study of more than 40,000 patients, Dr. Eagle says it's obvious that the more active role a patient plays in his or her own recovery, the greater the chance of long term survival after an event like a blocked artery.