Purpose: A significant portion of coronary heart disease deaths occur out of the hospital, prior to access to life saving medical care. Improving the immediacy of care could have important impact on coronary mortality.
Methods: The objective of this research is to identify factors associated with the occurrence of out-of-hospital coronary heart disease death as compared with in-hospital. Identification of these factors could lead to additional strategies for rapid treatment of coronary attack symptoms. A large national cohort study with individually identified characteristics was matched to the National Death Index to identify deaths by cause occurring in up to 11 years of follow-up. Approximately 60,000 deaths occurred in the cohort of approximately 700,000 participants aged 25 years or more. Location of death was defined as either in- or out-of-hospital.
Results: Among deaths classified as coronary heart disease (CHD), multivariate logistic models of the association between selected demographic and socioeconomic characteristics of individuals prior to death and place of death show that black persons are more likely to die out of hospital, as are persons who live alone or are unmarried, persons at the lowest end of the income distribution, and persons who live in rural areas vs. urban areas.
Conclusions: The factors most strongly associated with a CHD death occurring out-of-hospital as compared with in-hospital are race (black persons are 1.23 times more likely to die out of hospital than white persons, net of demographic and socioeconomic differentials) and living status (persons who are not married are 1.60 times more likely to die out of hospital than persons who are married, net of demographic and socioeconomic characteristics). Attention should be paid to these groups to emphasize the need for rapid attention to the signs of a coronary attack so that rapid and potentially life saving intervention can be implemented.