Background: Availability of a telematic system of electrocardiogram (ECG) transmission may improve the management of ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI), by reducing time to treatment. The aim of this study was to show the effectiveness of transtelephonic trasmission of ECG in improving quality of care for patients with acute STEMI. Methods: Since January 1, 2003, we activated a management program of STEMI in healthcare district of Varese, located in the North-West of Lombardy (Italy), comprising one fourth-level hospital, equipped with a cath lab on call 24/24 h for primary angioplasty since 1993 and cardiac surgery, and 2 community hospitals, placed in a mountain area approximately 30 km far from Varese. The emergency medical system (EMS) transport was activated 24/24 h and has 15 basic life support (BLS) ambulances with trained nurse staff and 2 mobile units with medical staff, all of them equipped with semiautomatic defibrillator Lifepack 12, enabling a GSM telephonic transmission of a 12-lead ECG, coupled with 3-lead continuous rhythm recording and clinical data, if necessary. The ECGs were transmitted to a core unit placed in the coronary care unit (CCU) of the Hospital di Circolo of Varese, directly connected with the EMS core unit. Results: From January 2003 to August 2005, a total of 2063 ECGs were transmitted, 538 of them (26%) recorded by EMS ambulances. Of 144 ECGs (7%) showing a persistent ST-elevation suggesting an acute STEMI (group A), 112 subjects underwent reperfusion: 73 were treated with angioplasty and 39 by lysis alone. By comparing data of group A with a group of 256 patients (180 reperfused) with acute STEMI, admitted to our hospital in the same period without ECG teletransmission (group B), we observed no statistical difference in mortality and reperfusion rates but a significative reduction in the pre-hospital and in-hospital times in group A patients treated by primary angioplasty and thrombolysis. Conclusions: Our study confirms previous results in that an early availability of a 12-lead ECG, transmitted from peripherical community hospitals and BLS ambulances, is able to reduce time to management of patients with an acute STEMI, thus improving quality of decision-making and treatment.
|Number of pages||7|
|Journal||Giornale Italiano di Cardiologia|
|Publication status||Published - Jul 2006|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine