Fatal arrhythmias early in myocardial infarction have alerted physician and layman to the urgency of prompt hospitalization when this condition is suspected. Assured that a hospital bed is impatiently waiting for him, the patient is urged to call an ambulance—a mobile coronary unit, if available —in order to reach the hospital at the earliest possible moment. This may mean the difference between life and death.
No such dramatic alternatives face the patient about to be discharged from the hospital. No quick decisions are called for to determine the date of discharge. Cost of stay, demand for hospital beds, and the patient's health want consideration. Clearly, expense and availability of beds militate against a prolonged stay. But what about the health factor? How soon can a patient with an uncomplicated myocardial infarction leave his hospital bed without endangering his life?
This question was thought to have received a definitive answer in
Early to Bed and Early to Rise. JAMA. 1973;225(12):1527-1528. doi:10.1001/jama.1973.03220400053014