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Impact of ST‐Segment–Elevation Myocardial Infarction Regionalization Programs on the Treatment and Outcomes of Patients Diagnosed With Non–ST‐Segment–Elevation Myocardial Infarction


Background Many communities have implemented systems of regionalized care to improve access to timely care for patients with ST-segment-elevation myocardial infarction. However, patients who are ultimately diagnosed with non-ST-segment-elevation myocardial infarctions (NSTEMIs) may also be affected, and the impact of regionalization programs on NSTEMI treatment and outcomes is unknown. We set out to determine the effects of ST-segment-elevation myocardial infarction regionalization schemes on treatment and outcomes of patients diagnosed with NSTEMIs. Methods and Results The cohort included all patients receiving care in emergency departments diagnosed with an NSTEMI at all nonfederal hospitals in California from January 1, 2005 to September 30, 2015. Data were analyzed using a difference-in-differences approach. The main outcomes were 1-year mortality and angiography within 3 days of the index admission. A total of 293 589 patients with NSTEMIs received care in regionalized and nonregionalized communities. Over the study period, rates of early angiography increased by 0.5 and mortality decreased by 0.9 percentage points per year among the overall population (95% CI, 0.4-0.6 and -1.0 to -0.8, respectively). Regionalization was not associated with early angiography (-0.5%; 95% CI, -1.1 to 0.1) or death (0.2%; 95% CI, -0.3 to 0.8). Conclusions ST-segment-elevation myocardial infarction regionalization programs were not statistically associated with changes in guideline-recommended early angiography or changes in risk of death for patients with NSTEMI. Increases in the proportion of patients with NSTEMI who underwent guideline-directed angiography and decreases in risk of mortality were accounted for by secular trends unrelated to regionalization policies.

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