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AHA Scientific Statements, acute coronary syndrome, stroke, delivery of health care



  1. Moser, Debra K. DNSc, RN, FAHA
  2. Kimble, Laura P. PhD, RN, FAHA
  3. Alberts, Mark J. MD, FAHA
  4. Alonzo, Angelo PhD
  5. Croft, Janet B. PhD
  6. Dracup, Kathleen DNSc, RN, FAHA
  7. Evenson, Kelly R. PhD
  8. Go, Alan S. MD
  9. Hand, Mary M. MSPH, RN, FAHA
  10. Kothari, Rashmi U. MD, FAHA
  11. Mensah, George A. MD, FAHA
  12. Morris, Dexter L. PhD, MD
  13. Pancioli, Arthur M. MD, FAHA
  14. Riegel, Barbara DNSc, RN, CS, FAHA
  15. Zerwic, Julie Johnson PhD, RN, FAHA


Patient delay in seeking treatment for acute coronary syndrome and stroke symptoms is the major factor limiting delivery of definitive treatment in these conditions. Despite decades of research and public education campaigns aimed at decreasing patient delay times, most patients still do not seek treatment in a timely manner. In this scientific statement, we summarize the evidence that (1) demonstrates the benefits of early treatment, (2) describes the extent of the problem of patient delay, (3) identifies the factors related to patient delay in seeking timely treatment, and (4) reveals the inadequacies of our current approaches to decreasing patient delay. Finally, we offer suggestions for clinical practice and future research.