Research Article

Mode of referral to hospital of patients with heart attacks: relevance to home care and special ambulance services.

Br Med J 1976; 2 doi: (Published 30 October 1976) Cite this as: Br Med J 1976;2:1035
  1. J D Hill,
  2. J R Hampton


    Out of 1250 consecutive patients brought to hospital with heart attacks 956 (76%) were at home when their symptoms began. Of these, 587 (61%) called their general practitioner, and for the remainder an ambulance was summoned by a member of the public. Of the 294 patients who were away from home when the attack occurred 291 were brought to hospital by ambulance. Of these, only 70 (24%) were attended by a general practitioner. Patients for whom ambulances were called by a general practitioner had had their symptoms significantly longer and had significantly lower prehospital and hospital mortalities than those for whom ambulances were summoned by members of the public. Special "cardiac" ambulances appear to be inappropriate for patients who have been seen by a general practitioner, and for this group home care may well be as effective as hospital admission.