Impact of a rapid access protocol on decreasing door-to-balloon time in acute ST elevation myocardial infarction

Jaelyn M Caudle, Zoe Piggott, Suzanne Dostaler, Karen Graham, Robert J Brison
CJEM 2009, 11 (1): 29-35

OBJECTIVE: Ischemic cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in Canada. In ST elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI), time to reperfusion is a key determinant in reducing morbidity and mortality with percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) being the preferred reperfusion strategy. Where PCI is available, delays to definitive care include times to electrocardiogram (ECG) diagnosis and cardiovascular laboratory access. In 2004, the Cardiac Care Network of Ontario recommended implementation of an emergency department (ED) protocol to reduce reperfusion time by transporting patients with STEMI directly to the nearest catheterization laboratory. The model was implemented in Frontenac County in April 2005. The objective of this study was to assess the effectiveness of a protocol for rapid access to PCI in reducing door-to-balloon times in STEMI.

METHODS: Two 1-year periods before and after implementation of a rapid access to PCI protocol (ending March 2005 and June 2006, respectively) were studied. Administrative databases were used to identify all subjects with STEMI who were transported by regional emergency medical services (EMS) and received emergent PCI. The primary outcome measure was time from ED arrival to first balloon inflation (door-to-balloon time). Times are presented as medians and interquartile ranges (IQRs). Statistical comparisons were made using the Mann-Whitney U test and presented graphically with Kaplan-Meier curves.

RESULTS: Patients transported under the rapid access protocol (n = 39) were compared with historical controls (n = 42). Median door-to-balloon time was reduced from 87 minutes (IQR 67-108) preprotocol to 62 minutes (IQR 40-80) postprotocol (p < 0.001).

CONCLUSION: In our region, implementation of an EMS protocol for rapid access to PCI significantly reduced time to reperfusion for patients with STEMI.

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