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Original Research

Delays incurred during acute myocardial infarction: a comparative study of rural and urban populations in Greece

Submitted: 10 July 2009
Revised: 12 January 2010
Published: 28 May 2010

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Author(s) : Vavouranakis I, Fanioudaki A, Lamprogiannakis E, Baltzakis I, Sidiropoulou K, Porfiri E, Ganotakis ES.

Citation: Vavouranakis I, Fanioudaki A, Lamprogiannakis E, Baltzakis I, Sidiropoulou K, Porfiri E, Ganotakis ES.  Delays incurred during acute myocardial infarction: a comparative study of rural and urban populations in Greece. Rural and Remote Health (Internet) 2010; 10: 1271. Available: http://www.rrh.org.au/articles/subviewnew.asp?ArticleID=1271 (Accessed 21 October 2017)

ABSTRACT

Introduction: Treatment delay during myocardial infarction may be due to a number of factors, such as age, sex, socioeconomic status and interpretation of symptoms. However, whether residence plays a role has not been fully investigated and, if known, could provide information that will help target specific populations. This study investigated whether urban and rural residents in Greece differ in the time required to seek and receive medical assistance during acute myocardial infarction, according to their characteristics and the determinants of their delay.
Methods: This was an observational study (with a structured interview) conducted in one academic and one regional hospital on the island of Crete, Greece, consisting of 348†patients with confirmed myocardial infarction.
Results: Patients from rural and urban areas did not differ in the decision time before seeking medical assistance (180†min vs 240†min, p=0.058). Those living in rural areas experienced a longer delay in reaching hospital once they sought assistance (50†min vs 20†min, p<0.0001). The total median delay time (4.25†hours for rural and 4.75†hours for urban patients, p=0.9) was positively affected by female sex and negatively affected by a patientís belief that symptoms were serious, and that they were heart-related.
Conclusions: Strategies should be developed to reduce the treatment delay during myocardial infarction for residents of both urban and rural areas, especially for women. Patients interpreting symptoms as being serious and originating from the heart are important for a shorter delay. A better health system is needed in rural Greece in order to deal more effectively with medical emergencies such as myocardial infarction.

Key words: delay, emergency care, Greece, myocardial infarction, pre-hospital care.

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