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ED Diversion Raises Heart Attack Mortality

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, June 14, 2011

Additionally, ambulance diversion means patients are likely to endure treatment delays because transport times are longer, and they may end up "in less desirable setting(s)," an ED without catheterization capacity for example, they wrote.

Higher heart attack mortality was seen in patients whose closest hospital was on diversion less than six hours, to less than 12 hours. Demographic and co-morbidity factors were not different except that there was a higher share of black patients in the 12 or more hours exposure category, 11%, versus 6% in the no diversion category.

Additionally, when the nearest ED is on diversion, "a lower proportion of patients is admitted to hospitals with catheterization capacity, and a higher proportion is admitted to for-profit and government hospitals," they wrote.

Cheryl Clark is senior quality editor and California correspondent for HealthLeaders Media. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists.
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