Do acute myocardial infarction and stroke mortality vary by distance to hospitals in Switzerland? Results from the Swiss National Cohort Study.

Berlin, Claudia; Panczak, Radoslaw; Hasler, Rebecca; Zwahlen, Marcel (2016). Do acute myocardial infarction and stroke mortality vary by distance to hospitals in Switzerland? Results from the Swiss National Cohort Study. BMJ open, 6(11), e013090. BMJ Publishing Group 10.1136/bmjopen-2016-013090

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Switzerland has mountains and valleys complicating the access to a hospital and critical care in case of emergencies. Treatment success for acute myocardial infarction (AMI) or stroke depends on timely treatment. We examined the relationship between distance to different hospital types and mortality from AMI or stroke in the Swiss National Cohort (SNC) Study.


The SNC is a longitudinal mortality study of the census 2000 population of Switzerland. For 4.5 million Swiss residents not living in a nursing home and older than 30 years in the year 2000, we calculated driving time and straight-line distance from their home to the nearest acute, acute with emergency room, central and university hospital (in total 173 hospitals). On the basis of quintiles, we used multivariable Cox proportional hazard models to estimate HRs of AMI and stroke mortality for driving time distance groups compared to the closest distance group.


Over 8 years, 19 301 AMI and 21 931 stroke deaths occurred. Mean driving time to the nearest acute hospital was 6.5 min (29.7 min to a university hospital). For AMI mortality, driving time to a university hospital showed the strongest association among the four types of hospitals with a hazard ratio (HR) of 1.19 (95% CI 1.10 to 1.30) and 1.10 (95% CI 1.01 to 1.20) for men and women aged 65+ years when comparing the highest quintile with the lowest quintile of driving time. For stroke mortality, the association with university hospital driving time was less pronounced than for AMI mortality and did not show a clear incremental pattern with increasing driving time. There was no association with driving time to the nearest hospital.


The increasing AMI mortality with increasing driving time to the nearest university hospital but not to any nearest hospital reflects a complex interplay of many factors along the care pathway.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (ISPM)

Graduate School:

Graduate School for Health Sciences (GHS)

UniBE Contributor:

Berlin, Claudia; Panczak, Radoslaw and Zwahlen, Marcel


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 360 Social problems & social services




BMJ Publishing Group




Doris Kopp Heim

Date Deposited:

03 Nov 2016 09:57

Last Modified:

05 Jan 2017 10:51

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:





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