Study shows pre-hospital electrocardiography (ECG) for chest pain patients leads to faster transport

July 27, 2012

(Medical Xpress) -- A study conducted by researchers from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine along with colleagues from Rural/Metro Ambulance San Diego and the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department, shows that emergency medical personnel can obtain an electrocardiogram (ECG) in the field for chest pain patients without an increase in scene time or transport time to the hospital. Furthermore, in patients with an ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) diagnosed on the electrocardiogram– in the field prior to transporting to the hospital – care is actually expedited and the patients are more rapidly transported to the hospital. The study appears in the July 25 online version of the Journal of American College of Cardiology.

“Prior to this study, questions remained as to whether the time required in the field to perform an ECG would lead to a delay in transporting to the hospital. For patients suffering from the most severe form of heart attack (STEMI), where a significant amount of heart muscle is being damaged by the minute, time in the field and transport times were actually lowered,” said senior author, Ehtisham Mahmud, MD, professor of medicine, UC San Diego School of Medicine, chief of cardiovascular medicine and co-director, UC San Diego Sulpizio Cardiovascular Center. “This indicates that pre-hospital offers a more timely diagnosis and has the potential to reduce ischemic time and limit heart muscle damage.”

Coronary heart disease remains the leading cause of death in the United States. A number of pharmacologic therapies and advancements in interventional techniques and improved systems of care have led to significantly improved outcomes for heart attack patients.  Pre-hospital ECG helps quickly make the diagnosis of a heart attack even prior to arrival at the hospital and enables faster delivery of optimal medical therapy and preferential transport of patients to hospitals with the ability to provide an angioplasty (balloon catheter used to open blocked artery with stent placement to improve blood flow to the heart).

“The combination of the pre-hospital and our EMS system design helps get patients to the cath lab more quickly to open up the blocked artery,” explained co-author and City Medical Director, James Dunford, MD, professor emeritus of clinical medicine, Department of Emergency Medicine, UCSD School of Medicine.  “We deploy paramedics on both fire first-responders and on ambulances.  This increases the efficiency of rapid patient assessment, diagnosis and as demonstrated in this study, clear benefit for patients.”

This study analyzed the data on nearly 22,000 patients complaining of of suspected cardiac origin encountered over a five-year period by San Diego City paramedics.

Explore further: Paramedics can play a key role in speedy care for heart attack patients

Related Stories

Paramedics can play a key role in speedy care for heart attack patients

March 21, 2012
Health care practitioners have long understood the importance of "door to balloon" time for heart attack patients—the faster they can get the patient from the door of the hospital to a catheterization lab to open a clogged ...

Most hospitals miss critical window for heart attack transfer patients

November 28, 2011
Most heart attack patients transferred between hospitals for the emergency artery-opening procedure called angioplasty are not transported as quickly as they should be, Yale School of medicine researchers report in the first ...

Largest statewide coordinated care effort improves survival, reduces time to heart attack treatment

June 4, 2012
An ambitious effort to coordinate heart attack care among every hospital and emergency service in North Carolina improved patient survival rates and reduced the time from diagnosis to treatment, according to Duke University ...

Coordinated system helps heart attack patients get treatment faster

June 28, 2011
Coordinating care among emergency medical services (EMS) and hospital systems significantly reduced the time to transfer heart attack patients to hospitals providing emergency coronary angioplasty, according to research reported ...

Heart attack patients taken to PCI hospitals first treated faster

May 10, 2012
Heart attack patients in North Carolina who were rushed directly to hospitals equipped to do percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) received treatment significantly faster than patients first taken to hospitals unequipped ...

Recommended for you

Researchers investigate the potential of spider silk protein for engineering artificial heart

August 18, 2017
Ever more people are suffering from cardiac insufficiency, despite significant advances in preventing and minimising damage to the heart. The main cause of reduced cardiac functionality lies in the irreversible loss of cardiac ...

Lasers used to detect risk of heart attack and stroke

August 18, 2017
Patients at risk of heart attacks and strokes may be spotted earlier thanks to a diagnosis tool that uses near-infrared light to identify high-risk arterial plaques, according to research carried out at WMG, University of ...

Cholesterol crystals are sure sign a heart attack may loom

August 17, 2017
A new Michigan State University study on 240 emergency room patients shows just how much of a role a person's cholesterol plays, when in a crystallized state, during a heart attack.

How Gata4 helps mend a broken heart

August 15, 2017
During a heart attack, blood stops flowing into the heart; starved for oxygen, part of the heart muscle dies. The heart muscle does not regenerate; instead it replaces dead tissue with scars made of cells called fibroblasts ...

Injectable tissue patch could help repair damaged organs

August 14, 2017
A team of U of T Engineering researchers is mending broken hearts with an expanding tissue bandage a little smaller than a postage stamp.

'Fat but fit' are at increased risk of heart disease

August 14, 2017
Carrying extra weight could raise your risk of heart attack by more than a quarter, even if you are otherwise healthy.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.