A multilevel analysis of absence of transport to a hospital before premature cardiac death.

Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, College of Public Health, University of South Florida, 13201 Bruce B. Downs Blvd, MDC 56, Tampa FL 33612, USA.
Preventing chronic disease (Impact Factor: 1.82). 05/2010; 7(3):A59.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Prompt transportation to a hospital and aggressive medical treatment can often prevent acute cardiac events from becoming fatal. Consequently, lack of transport before death may represent lost opportunities for life-saving interventions. We investigated the effect of individual characteristics (age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, and marital status) and small-area factors (population density and social cohesion) on the probability of premature cardiac decedents dying without transport to a hospital.
We analyzed death data for adults aged 25 to 69 years who resided in the Tampa, Florida, metropolitan statistical area and died from an acute cardiac event from 1998 through 2002 (N = 2,570). Geocoding of decedent addresses allowed the use of multilevel (hierarchical) logistic regression models for analysis.
The strongest predictor of dying without transport was being unmarried (odds ratio, 2.13; 95% confidence interval, 1.79-2.52, P < .001). There was no effect of education; however, white race was modestly predictive of dying without transport. Younger decedent age was a strong predictor. Multilevel statistical modeling revealed that less than 1% of the variance in our data was found at the small-area level.
Results contradicted our hypothesis that small-area characteristics would increase the probability of cardiac patients receiving transport before death. Instead we found that being unmarried, a proxy of living alone and perhaps low social support, was the most important predictor of people who died from a cardiac event dying without transport to a hospital.

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    ABSTRACT: People who die from heart disease at home before any attempt at transport has been made may represent missed opportunities for life-saving medical intervention. In this study, we undertook a point-pattern spatial analysis of heart disease deaths occurring before transport in a large metropolitan area to determine whether there was spatial clustering of non-transported decedents and whether there were significant differences between the clusters of non-transported cardiac decedents and the clusters of transported cardiac decedents in terms of average travel distances to nearest hospital and area socioeconomic characteristics. These analyses were adjusted for individual predictors of transport status. We obtained transport status from the place of death variable on the death certificate. We geocoded heart disease decedents to residential street addresses using a rigorous, multistep process with 97% success. Our final study population consisted of 11,485 adults aged 25-74 years who resided in a large metropolitan area in west-central Florida and died from heart disease during 1998-2002. We conducted a kernel density analysis to identify clusters of the residential locations of cardiac decedents where there was a statistically significant excess probability of being either transported or not transported prior to death; we controlled for individual-level covariates using logistic regression-derived probability estimates. The majority of heart disease decedents were married (53.4%), male (66.4%), white (85.6%), and aged 65-74 years at the time of death (54.7%), and a slight majority were transported prior to death (57.7%). After adjustment for individual predictors, 21 geographic clusters of non-transported heart disease decedents were observed. Contrary to our hypothesis, clusters of non-transported decedents were slightly closer to hospitals than clusters of transported decedents. The social environmental characteristics of clusters varied in the expected direction, with lower socioeconomic and household resources in the clusters of non-transported heart disease deaths. These results suggest that in this large metropolitan area unfavorable household and neighborhood resources played a larger role than distance to hospital with regard to transport status of cardiac patients; more research is needed in different geographic areas of the United States and in other industrialized nations.
    International Journal of Health Geographics 07/2011; 10:46. · 2.62 Impact Factor

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