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December 1968

Acute Myocardial Infarction: Influence of a Coronary Care Unit

Author Affiliations


From the Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine, University of Colorado Medical Center, Denver.

Arch Intern Med. 1968;122(6):472-475. doi:10.1001/archinte.1968.00300100006002

The course of 100 consecutive patients with proven acute myocardial infarction admitted to medical wards at Denver Veterans Administration Hospital (VAH) were compared with 105 monitored in a coronary care unit at Colorado General Hospital (CGH) over a 17-month period. Clinical characteristics and electrocardiographic features were similar in the two groups and care was by identical physicians. Arrhythmias were observed in 80% of monitored patients and 58% at VAH. Ventricular fibrillation in "good risk" patients occurred in 9% at CGH and 19% at VAH. Fifty-seven percent of monitored and 12% of unmonitored patients were resuscitated and survived. Resuscitation of all first week cardiac arrests occurred in 37% and 4% of the patients respectively. Total mortality at VAH was 33% and at CGH, 19%. Results stress the value of coronary care units in prevention of ventricular fibrillation and increasing successful resuscitation.