Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Early reporting of myocardial infarction: impact of an experiment in patient education.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1982; 284 doi: (Published 12 June 1982) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1982;284:1741
  1. J M Rowley,
  2. J D Hill,
  3. J R Hampton,
  4. J R Mitchell


    Many deaths from myocardial infarction occur before medical help is sought. A campaign was mounted in Nottingham ("Nottingham Heartwatch") to encourage early reporting. A total of 13 828 men and women aged 40 and over registered with three general practices were asked to telephone a hospital-based number if they developed chest pain lasting for more than 10 minutes. Patients from study practices reported chest pain earlier after our invitation than they had before and also earlier than patients from control practices. While accepting the advice to call early some patients from the study practices ignored our special number and telephoned their general practitioner. The calls received on the Heartwatch line yielded a lower percentage of definite and probable infarcts than the calls received by the patients' own doctors. The way in which the characteristics of the study practices might have influenced this difference is discussed since it has considerable implications for larger-scale attempts to bring patients with suspected myocardial infarction under medical care at the earliest opportunity.