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Heart Attack

A heart attack occurs when one or more of the coronary arteries, which supply blood to the heart, are blocked or the artery diameter is greatly narrowed in size. The result of the change in the coronary artery leads to little or no oxygen being carried to a specific part of the heart. Without enough oxygen, the part is damaged and dies causing a heart attack. In some instances, a heart attack can be deadly, but prompt treatment may result in restoring blood flow to the specific part of the heart that was damaged due to the blockage.

The diameter of an artery narrows when plaque collects along the inside wall. A piece of the plaque that breaks loose leaves a rough spot on the inner lining of the artery. As blood flows through the artery, small amounts get caught on the rough spot and stop moving. When blood is not moving it clots. The clot grows as more blood collects on it and a blockage begins to form. When the blockage is large enough to prevent the flow of blood through the artery or when the amount of plaque greatly narrows the artery so no or very little blood passes through it, a heart attack occurs. Medical terms for heart attack are acute myocardial infarction (AMI) and myocardial infarction (MI). (Source: CMS)

Measures in this Category

Aspirin on Arrival:  Percent of heart attack patients with no medical reason not to take aspirin who received aspirin within 24 hours before or after hospital arrival. (CMS)

Aspirin Prescribed at Discharge:  Percent of heart attack patients with no medical reason not to take aspirin who were prescribed aspirin at hospital discharge. (CMS)

ACEI or ARB for LVSD:  Percent of heart attack patients with left ventricular systolic dysfunction (LVSD), where the heart does not pump enough blood throughout the body, and no medical reason not to take blood vessel relaxing medications, either angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor (ACEI) or angiotensin receptor blocker (ARB) for patients prescribed an ACEI or ARB at hospital discharge. (CMS)

Beta Blocker Prescribed at Discharge:  Percent of heart attack patients with no medical reason not to take a heart drug known as a beta blocker who were prescribed a beta blocker medication at hospital discharge. (CMS)

PCI within 90 Minutes:  Percent of heart attack patients receiving Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI), also known as angioplasty (a surgical procedure where a small balloon is inserted into arteries around the heart to help restore the blood flow), within 90 minutes of arrival to the hospital. (CMS)

30-Day Death Rate for Heart Attack Patients:  Death rate of Medicare patients who were admitted to the hospital for heart attack and died within 30 days of hospital admission. The 30-day period is used because this is the time period when deaths are most likely to be related to the care patients received in the hospital. (CMS)

Statin Prescribed at Discharge:  Percent of heart attack patients with no medical reason not to take a heart drug known as statin who were prescribed a statin at hospital discharge. (CMS)

30-Day All-Cause Readmission Rate for Heart Attack Patients:  The risk-adjusted readmission rate of Medicare patients who were readmitted to the hospital for any reason within 30 days of being discharged from their initial heart-attack related hospital admissions (CMS)

CABG Death Rate:  The number of deaths that occurred during the hospital admission in which the bypass surgery was performed compared to the expected number of deaths. Information on whether the patient died during the hospital stay was provided by hospitals. (phc4.org)