The prehospital electrocardiogram in acute myocardial infarction: Is its full potential being realized?

Academic Article

Abstract

  • Objectives. This study sought to examine the management and subsequent outcomes of patients with a prehospital electrocardiogram (ECG) in a large, voluntary registry of myocardial infarction. Background. The prehospital ECG has been proposed as a means of rapidly identifying patients with acute myocardial infarction who might be eligible for reperfusion therapy. Methods. The characteristics and outcomes of patients with a prehospital ECG were compared with those without a prehospital ECG in the National Registry of Myocardial Infarction 2 data base. Included in the analysis were those patients who presented to the hospital within 12 h of an acute myocardial infarction. Excluded were patients with an in-hospital infarction, transferred-in referrals and self-transported patients. Results. Prehospital ECGs were obtained in 3,768 (5%) of 66,995 National Registry of Myocardial Infarction 2 patients meeting study criteria. Median time from myocardial infarction symptom onset until hospital arrival was longer among those having a prehospital ECG (152 vs. 91 min, p < 0.001). However, once in the hospital, the prehospital ECG group experienced a shorter median time to the initiation of either thrombolysis (30 vs. 40 min, p < 0.001) or primary angioplasty (92 vs. 115 min, p < 0.001). The prehospital ECG group was more likely to receive thrombolytic therapy (43% vs. 37%, p < 0.001) and to undergo primary angioplasty (11% vs. 7%, p < 0.001). Also, the prehospital ECG group was more likely to undergo coronary arteriography (55% vs. 40%, p < 0.001), angioplasty (24% vs. 16%, p < 0.001) or bypass surgery (10% vs. 6%, p < 0.001). The in-hospital mortality rate was 8% in patients with a prehospital ECG and 12% in those without a prehospital ECG (p < 0.001). After adjusting for baseline covariates utilizing multiple logistic regression analysis, this mortality difference remained statistically significant (odds ratio 0.83, 95% confidence interval 0.71 to 0.96, p = 0.01). Conclusions. The prehospital ECG is infrequently utilized for diagnosing myocardial infarction, and among patients with a prehospital ECG, is associated with a longer time from symptom onset to hospital arrival. Despite these shortcomings, the prehospital ECG is a test that may potentially influence the management of patients with acute myocardial infarction through wider, faster in-hospital utilization of reperfusion strategies and greater usage of invasive procedures, factors that may possibly reduce shortterm mortality. Efforts to implement the prehospital ECG more widely and more rapidly may be indicated.
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Canto JG; Rogers WJ; Bowlby LJ; French WJ; Pearce DJ; Douglas Weaver W
  • Start Page

  • 498
  • End Page

  • 505
  • Volume

  • 29
  • Issue

  • 3