Hospitals are discharging patients who have suffered severe heart attacks in less than a week, compared to hospital stays of more than six weeks for patients in the 1950s, according to a study by researchers at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.
The lengths of stays have practically been cut in half since the 1980s when the average length of stay was 11.7 days. From 1997 to 1999, the average was 5.9 days. Researchers studied the discharges of 4,551 patients at 16 hospitals in the Worcester, Mass., area in eight different years. The report was published this week in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
The patients who had a length of stay of less than six days were not at a higher risk of dying after discharge, researchers found. -- by Patrick Reilly