Patient delay from onset of chest pain suggesting acute coronary syndrome to hospital admission

Scand Cardiovasc J. 2003 Sep;37(4):183-6. doi: 10.1080/14017430310014920.


Objective: The aim of the study was to examine patient delay (time from onset of chest pain to patient seeking medical care) among patients who were admitted to hospital with suspected acute coronary syndrome (ACS).

Design and results: For 337 patients acutely admitted to the Cardiology Department, Odense University Hospital, during a 3-month period in 1998 with suspected ACS, patient delay and the total pre-hospital delay were registered. In addition, information on patient characteristics, patient behaviour and symptom perception was obtained. The median patient delay was 2.85 h (range 0.2-91 h), of this the "silent" patient delay represented 1 h (range 1 min-11.3 h). The total pre-hospital delay was median 3.88 h. Thirty-one per cent of the patients had confirmed acute myocardial infarction (AMI), and this patient group had a significantly shorter patient delay compared with the group without AMI, 2.05 h vs 3.12 h, p = 0.01. Patient delay of more than 2 h was associated with the factors "self-medication" and "wanted to wait and see if the symptoms went away". A smaller than average risk of patient delay was found in the case of "suspicion of heart attack" and "suspicion of a serious condition".

Conclusion: Patient delay is considered to be a serious impediment to markedly improving the prognosis in the case of ACS.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Chest Pain / diagnosis
  • Chest Pain / epidemiology
  • Chest Pain / therapy*
  • Coronary Disease / diagnosis
  • Coronary Disease / epidemiology
  • Coronary Disease / therapy*
  • Decision Making
  • Denmark / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Infarction / diagnosis
  • Myocardial Infarction / epidemiology
  • Myocardial Infarction / therapy
  • Patient Admission*
  • Risk Factors
  • Self Medication
  • Syndrome
  • Treatment Outcome