Only 17% of heart patients across the Gulf region arrive to the hospital by ambulance, data show

WAM DUBAI, July 16th, 2013 (WAM)– Only one in five high risk patients suffering of a cardiac ailment will reach out to contact emergency medical services, as the remaining will travel to the hospital by their own means, according to data in the Arab Gulf region.

With Acute Coronary Syndrome currently being one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in the Arab Gulf States and worldwide, it is crucial that high risk patients have the necessary support by emergency medical services to prevent and diagnose the illness at an earlier time.

Only 17% of heart patients across Kuwait, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Qatar, and Bahrain arrive to the hospital by ambulance. This is inclusive of critically ill patients who require medical attention immediately.

The lack of emergency medical service utilisation use was associated with younger age, smoking, chest pain, prior heart attack and family history of premature coronary disease. Results revealed that patients who had arrived through emergency medical services were more likely to be female at 27% compared to male at 23%, and an older age group, at 58 +/- 13 years2.

With a focus on trying to change people’s behaviour to benefit their health, the Safe@Heart initiative, an educational programme created by Emirates Cardiac Society and supported by AstraZeneca Gulf, addresses the region’s unmet medical needs of cardiovascular disease. The programme promotes a safer lifestyle which emphasises that small changes can make a big difference. The decision to contact an ambulance is impactful and in some cases, compulsory.

“High risk patients who may be suffering from a heart attack need to instantly call for an ambulance to arrive to the closest emergency department,” said Dr. Wael Abdulrahman Almahmeed, Chief of Cardiology at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City in Abu Dhabi and former president of Emirates Cardiac Society. “The early transfer through the ambulance leads to an early diagnosis, early treatment and better prognosis with less long term complications,” he added.

Patients with myocardial infarction who were transported by an ambulance were signi?cantly less likely to exhibit major delay in presentation, and were signi?cantly more likely to receive favourable processes of care, including shorter door-to-emergency care time and more frequent coronary reperfusion therapy.

Further information can be extracted from Safe@Heart’s website, safeatheart.com, which provides support through the first Arabic and English website dedicated to heart health in the Middle East. In addition, the initiative offers the 12-Week Programme, a free step-by-step guide to a heart healthy lifestyle, and hosts screening road shows in order to educate residents across the United Arab Emirates on how to benefit their health and heart.

“At AstraZeneca, we prioritize educating people about all aspects regarding healthcare. We particularly aim to communicate information about which behaviours benefit or harm the heart through our Safe@Heart programme. A simple decision about whether or not to utilize emergency services can play a significant role at a later stage, and therefore we hope that empowering patients with this knowledge in advance can prevent an ailment from worsening,” said Samer Al Hallaq, Country President, AstraZeneca Gulf.

“With the centre focal point being that health connects all people, Safe@Heart has the objective of enriching people’s health lifestyles at levels beyond medicine,” he added.

WAM/MMYS

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