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Crit Pathw Cardiol. 2006 Dec;5(4):228-34. doi: 10.1097/

Understanding prehospital delay behavior in acute myocardial infarction in women.

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Vanderbilt University School of Nursing, Nashville, Tennessee 37240, USA.


Studies demonstrate that acute myocardial infarction (AMI) mortality can be reduced if reperfusion therapy is initiated within 1 hour of AMI symptom onset. However, a considerable number of men and women arrive at the emergency department outside of the time frame for thrombolytic and angioplasty effectiveness. This is especially true for women who have been shown to delay longer than men due to their prehospital decision-making process utilized. With a mean total delay time greater than 4 hours, the time interval from symptom onset to transport activation to the hospital consumes the majority of the prehospital phase of emergency cardiac care. The health belief model, self-regulation model, theory of reasoned action, and theory of planned behavior have all been used to describe the prehospital decision-making process of both men and women with an AMI and the variables that impact that process. These models have identified the importance of symptom attribution to cardiac-related causes as a target variable for research and interventions related to care-seeking behavior.

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