Objective: The study's objective was to describe symptoms, symptom management, and patient delay times in patients seeking treatment for suspected acute myocardial infarction (AMI), and to find explanatory factors influencing the decision time.
Method: This is a descriptive survey study including 403 Swedish patients with a median age of 64 years with suspected AMI.
Results: Altogether, 84% of the patients suspected that the symptoms emanated from the heart. Despite this fact, 59% delayed going to the hospital more than 1 hour after the onset of symptoms. In the multiple regression analysis, a "dull pain," the patients' belief that it was nothing serious, and contact with the general practitioner were associated with prolonged delay. The decision to contact the emergency service shortened the delay time.
Conclusions: The patient's subjective feeling of the severity of symptoms is an important predictor for delay times. There is still a need for public awareness of the appropriate responses to AMI symptoms, that is, to call for an ambulance instead of contacting the general practitioner.