Myocardial infarction is a time-critical condition and its outcome is determined by appropriate emergency care. Thus we assessed the efficacy of a supra-regional ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) network in Easternern Austria.
The Eastern Austrian STEMI network serves a population of approx. 766.000 inhabitants within a region of 4186 km2. Established in 2007, it now comprises 20 pre-hospital emergency medical service (EMS) units (10 of these physician-staffed), 4 hospitals and 3 cardiac intervention centres. Treatment guidelines were updated in 2012 and documentation within a web-based STEMI registry became mandatory. For this retrospective qualitative control study, data from February 2012–April 2015 was assessed.
A total of 416 STEMI cases were documented, and 99% were identified by EMS within 6 (4.0–8.0) minutes after arrival. Median time loss between onset of pain and EMS call was 54 (20–135) minutes; response, pre-hospital and door-to-balloon times were 14 (10–20), 46 (37–59) and 45 (32–66) minutes, respectively. When general practitioners were involved, time between onset of pain and balloon inflation significantly increased from 180 (135–254) to 218 (155–348) minutes (p < .001). A pre-hospital time < 30 min was achieved in 25.8% of all patients during the day vs. 11.6% during the night (p < .001). Three hundred forty-five patients (83%) were subjected to primary percutaneous coronary intervention (PPCI), and 6.5% were thrombolysed by EMS. Pre-hospital complication rate was 18% (witnessed cardiac arrest 7%, threatening arrhythmias 6%, cardiogenic shock 5%). Twenty-four hours and hospital mortality rate were 1.2 and 2.8%, respectively.
Optimal patient care and subsequently outcome of STEMI is strongly determined by a short patient-decision time to call EMS and by the first medical contact to balloon time (FMCBT). Supra-regional networks are key in order to increase the efficacy and efficiency of health care. The goal of 120 min FMCBT was achieved in 78% of our patients immediately managed by EMS, thus indicating room for improvement.
In conclusion, results from the Eastern Austrian STEMI network shed light on the necessity of increasing patient awareness in order to minimize any time loss derived by delayed EMS calls. Involvement of family physicians resulted in prolonged FMCBT. A stronger utilization of rescue helicopters could further improve the efficacy of this supra-regional network. Nevertheless PPCI rates, time intervals and outcome rates compare well with international benchmarks.