The course of acute myocardial infarction. Feasibility of early discharge of the uncomplicated patient.
This report represents our experience with 522 consecutive patients with acute myocardial infarction admitted directly to the Duke Coronary Care Unit. Fifty items of information were used to characterize the patients, their hospital course and follow-up. Serious complications included death, ventricular tachycardia or fibrillation, second- or third-degree heart block, pulmonary edema, cardiogenic shock, persistent sinus tachycardia or hypotension, atrial flutter or fibrillation, and extension of infarction. Forty-nine percent of the patients (252 of 522) experienced a serious complication. All patients who experienced any serious complications had at least one of the above during the first four days of hospitalization. Patients who survived through day 4 were subgrouped on the basis of the occurrence (complicated) or lack of occurrence (uncomplicated) of the above on day 5. Complicated patients had a subsequent hospital mortality of 14% and an incidence of late serious complications of 51%. Patients who were uncomplicated through day 4 had a subsequent hospital mortality of zero and an incidence of late serious complications of zero. These data suggest that it would be feasible and ethically justified to conduct a prospective clinical trial of early discharge (7th day) in patients who meet the above criteria for uncomplicated. The potential economic savings through earlier discharge in uncomplicated patients are of major significance.
McNeer, JF; Wallace, AG; Wagner, GS; Starmer, CF; Rosati, RA
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