If Possible, STEMI Patients Should Go Straight to a Cath Lab.


Within a system designed to reduce time to reperfusion, mortality was lower in patients transported directly to a PCI-capable center than in those transferred from a non–PCI-capable center.

In the city of Ottawa, emergency medical system providers trained in electrocardiogram interpretation can triage patients with ST-segment-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) directly to a center with percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) capability. In a registry study, investigators compared outcomes in 822 patients transported directly to a PCI-capable hospital with those in 567 patients transported initially to a non–PCI-capable hospital, then transferred for primary PCI.

The median door-to-balloon time was significantly shorter in patients transported directly for PCI (66 minutes) than in those transferred for PCI (117 minutes). At 180 days, all-cause mortality was lower in directly transported patients than in those first taken to a non–PCI-capable hospital (5.0% vs. 11.5%; P<0.001). After multivariable adjustment, direct transfer was associated with about a 50% reduction in mortality risk (odds ratio, 0.52; P=0.01).

Comment: This study strengthens evidence that standardized geographic protocols designed to reduce time to reperfusion for ST-segment-elevation myocardial infarction reduce mortality. The importance of prehospital STEMI diagnosis and systems for rapid transport and treatment are now reflected in guideline recommendations (JW Cardiol Jan 6 2010), and implementation of these practices should be a public-health priority.

Source: Journal Watch Cardiology

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