Sharing and Teaching Electrocardiograms to Minimize Infarction (STEMI): reducing diagnostic time for acute coronary occlusion in the emergency department

Jesse T T McLaren, Ahmed K Taher, Monika Kapoor, Soojin L Yi, Lucas B Chartier
American Journal of Emergency Medicine 2021 March 25, 48: 18-32

BACKGROUND: Limits to ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarction (STEMI) criteria may lead to prolonged diagnostic time for acute coronary occlusion. We aimed to reduce ECG-to-Activation (ETA) time through audit and feedback on STEMI-equivalents and subtle occlusions, without increasing Code STEMIs without culprit lesions.

METHODS: This multi-centre, quality improvement initiative reviewed all Code STEMI patients from the emergency department (ED) over a one-year baseline and one-year intervention period. We measured ETA time, from the first ED ECG to the time a Code STEMI was activated. Our intervention strategy involved a grand rounds presentation and an internal website presenting weekly local challenging cases, along with literature on STEMI-equivalents and subtle occlusions. Our outcome measure was ETA time for culprit lesions, our process measure was website views/visits, and our balancing measure was the percentage of Code STEMIs without culprit lesions.

RESULTS: There were 51 culprit lesions in the baseline period, and 64 in the intervention period. Median ETA declined from 28.0 min (95% confidence interval [CI] 15.0-45.0) to 8.0 min (95%CI 6.0-15.0). The website garnered 70.4 views/week and 27.7 visitors/week in a group of 80 physicians. There was no change in percentage of Code STEMIs without culprit lesions: 28.2% (95%CI 17.8-38.6) to 20.0% (95%CI 11.2-28.8%). Conclusions Our novel weekly web-based feedback to all emergency physicians was associated with a reduction in ETA time by 20 min, without increasing Code STEMIs without culprit lesions. Local ECG audit and feedback, guided by ETA as a quality metric for acute coronary occlusion, could be replicated in other settings to improve care.

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