Patients' understanding of their heart attack and the impact of exposure to a media campaign on pre-hospital time

Heart Lung Circ. 2015 Jan;24(1):4-10. doi: 10.1016/j.hlc.2014.07.063. Epub 2014 Jul 29.


Background: Patients with acute myocardial infarction (AMI) have a limited understanding of AMI symptoms and risk factors. This can lead to delays in the recognition of an AMI and hospital presentation. We aimed to assess patients' understanding of their AMI symptoms and risk factors and also assess the impact of exposure to a media campaign on their pre-hospital time.

Methods: We surveyed 100 AMI patients admitted to the Canberra Hospital. We asked them about their AMI symptoms and risk factors and the impact of the National Heart Foundation (NHF) advertisements on their AMI experience.

Results: Only 26% of patients recognised that they were having an AMI. In 34% of cases, an ambulance was called. There was no significant difference in the median pre-hospital time between patients who encountered the NHF advertisements and those who had not (133 minutes vs. 137 minutes, p=0.809). Only 22% of patients could identify all of their personal AMI risk factors.

Conclusions: Most AMI patients do not initially recognise their condition nor do they call for an ambulance. Exposure to the NHF advertisements had no significant influence on reducing pre-hospital time in this cohort. Most patients have a limited understanding of AMI risk factors and causes.

Keywords: Acute myocardial infarction; Ambulance transport; Media campaign; National Heart Foundation; Pre-hospital time; Risk factors.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Australia
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Media*
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Infarction / pathology*
  • Myocardial Infarction / physiopathology*
  • Patient Education as Topic*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors