Last updated: Apr 27, 2008
Deb Kautz, 46, of Zumbro Falls, Minn., describes emergency treatment for a heart attack as surprisingly calming and even relieving. As the doctors snaked a catheter through her veins and opened the clogged artery, she felt alert, then energized. "My husband said, 'Of course you feel different, your heart's finally getting the blood it needs.'"
Different standards of treatment
Heart attack treatment isn't so rosy for some groups. Stephen Kopecky, MD, a cardiologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., has pointed out that there are gaping racial disparities in care for heart patients who are African American, according to 68 out of 81 studies on race and cardiac care. Even wealthier people of color may receive less aggressive care.
And pity the person who suffers a heart attack on Saturday or Sunday. They're less likely to survive, mainly because weekend admission is associated with lower use of invasiveand lifesavingprocedures.