[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The implementation of chest pain centers (CPC)/units (CPU) has been shown to improve emergency care in patients with suspected cardiac ischemia.
In an effort to provide a systematic and specific standard of care for patients with acute chest pain, the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care (SCPC) as well as the German Cardiac Society (GCS) introduced criteria for the accreditation of specialized units.
To date, 825 CPCs in the United States and 194 CPUs in Germany have been successfully certified by the SCPC or GCS, respectively. Even though there are differences in the accreditation processes, the goals are quite similar, focusing on enhanced operational efficiencies in the care of the acute coronary syndrome patients, reduced time delays, improved diagnostic and therapeutic strategies using adapted standard operating procedures, and increased medical as well as community awareness by the implementation of nationwide standardized concepts. In addition to national efforts, both societies have launched international initiatives, accrediting CPCs/CPU in the Middle East and China (SCPC) and Switzerland (GCS).
Enhanced collaboration among international bodies interested in promoting high quality care might extend the opportunity for accreditation of facilities that treat cardiovascular patients, with national programs designed to meet local needs and local healthcare system requirements.
No preview · Article · Jun 2015 · Critical Pathways in Cardiology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Acute vascular thrombotic disease, including acutemyocardial infarction and pulmonary embolism, accounts for 70% of sudden outpatient cardiac arrest. The role of intra-arrest thrombolytic administration aimed at reversing the underlying cause of cardiac arrest remains an area of debate with recent guidelines advising against routine use. We present a case of prolonged refractory ventricular fibrillation electrical storm in a patient who demonstrated intra-arrest electrocardiographic and sonographic markers confirming acute myocardial infarction. Return of spontaneous circulationwas rapidly achieved after rescue intra-arrest bolus thrombolysis. Highlights of this case are discussed in the context of the current evidence for thrombolytic therapy in cardiac arrestwith specific attention to the issue of patient selection.
No preview · Article · Dec 2014 · The American journal of emergency medicine
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Few cases of a left atrial thrombus without mitral valve disease have been reported. We present an unusual case in which a patient presented to the emergency department with syncope and acute cerebral ischemia caused by a ball thrombus originating from the left atrium (LA). An emergency bedside echocardiogram showed the LA ball thrombus intermittently obstructing the mitral orifice and, at times, compromising the left ventricular outflow tract. This thrombus was determined to be the source of cerebral embolization resulting in acute ischemia. Surgical excision of the mass was performed. At operation, the thrombus was found to be tethered to the left atrial appendage. This tethering was not apparent on the echocardiographic images, where the thrombus appeared to be free floating. This case demonstrates the utility of transthoracic echocardiography in establishing the etiology of emergent conditions seemingly unrelated to acute cardiac disease, in this situation a neurologic presentation with syncope and cerebral ischemia.
Full-text · Article · Nov 2014 · Clinical Medicine Insights: Cardiology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Objective:
A 10-fold regional variation in survival after out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) has been reported in the United States, which partly relates to variability in bystander cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) rates. In order for resources to be focused on areas of greatest need, we conducted a geospatial analysis of variation of CPR rates.
Using 2010-2011 data from Durham, Mecklenburg, and Wake counties in North Carolina participating in the Cardiac Arrest Registry to Enhance Survival (CARES) program, we included all patients with OHCA for whom resuscitation was attempted. Geocoded data and logistic regression modeling were used to assess incidence of OHCA and patterns of bystander CPR according to census tracts and factors associated herewith.
In total, 1466 patients were included (median age, 65 years [interquartile range 25]; 63.4% men). Bystander CPR by a layperson was initiated in 37.9% of these patients. High-incidence OHCA areas were characterized partly by higher population densities and higher percentages of black race as well as lower levels of education and income. Low rates of bystander CPR were associated with population composition (percent black: OR, 3.73; 95% CI, 2.00-6.97 per 1% increment in black patients; percent elderly: 3.25; 1.41-7.48 per 1% increment in elderly patients; percent living in poverty: 1.77, 1.16-2.71 per 1% increase in patients living in poverty).
In 3 counties in North Carolina, areas with low rates of bystander CPR can be identified using geospatial data, and education efforts can be targeted to improve recognition of cardiac arrest and to augment bystander CPR rates.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A network approach to transfer ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) patients can achieve durable first door-to-balloon times (1st D2B) for percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) within 90 min.
Nationally, a minority of STEMI patients from referral centers obtain 1st D2B in <2 h and even fewer in <90 min.
Included were transfer STEMI patients from 9 network hospitals treated in 2007 compared with 2008 to 2011 after installing the following initiatives: 1) established hospital referral system; 2) goal-oriented performance protocols; 3) expedited transport by ground or air; 4) first hospital activation of the PCI hospital catheterization laboratory; and 5) outreach coordinator and patient-level web-based feedback to the referring hospital.
A total of 101 STEMI patients transported in 2007 were compared with 442 STEMI patients transferred after starting these initiatives for STEMI from 2008 to 2011, with the median door-in to door-out time decreased from 44 to 35 min (p < 0.0001), the median 1st D2B decreasing from 109.5 to 88.0 min (p < 0.0001), and the percentage under 90 min increased from 22.8% to 55.9% (p < 0.0001). Overall, throughout the study period (2007 to 2011), the transport times remained consistent (median 36.5 vs. 36.0 min, p = 0.98), whereas the PCI hospital D2B decreased from 20.0 to 16.0 min (p < 0.0001). Length of stay and in-hospital mortality remained low at 3.0 days and under 4%, respectively.
A system-wide network program can achieve sustained (over 4 years) 1st D2B times of <90 min.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background:
Among patients identified prehospital with ST-segment-elevation myocardial infarction, emergency medical service transport from the field directly to the catheterization laboratory, thereby bypassing the emergency department (ED), may shorten time to reperfusion.
Methods and results:
We studied 1687 patients identified prehospital with ST-segment-elevation myocardial infarction from the Reperfusion in Acute Myocardial Infarction in Carolina Emergency Departments (RACE) project, transported via emergency medical service directly to 21 North Carolina hospitals for primary percutaneous coronary intervention between July 2008 and December 2009. Treatment time intervals were compared between patients evaluated in the ED (ED evaluation) and those transported directly to the catheterization laboratory (ED bypass). Emergency medical service transported 1401 (83.0%) patients to the ED, whereas the ED was bypassed for 286 (17.0%) patients. Overall, first medical contact to device activation within 90 minutes was achieved in 913 (54.1%) patients. Among patients evaluated in the ED, median time (25th-75th percentiles) from ED arrival to catheterization laboratory arrival was 30 (20-41) minutes. First medical contact to device activation occurred faster (75 [59-93] versus 90 [76-109] minutes; P<0.001) and was more frequently achieved within 90 minutes (74.1% versus 50.1%; P<0.001) among ED bypass patients.
Among patients identified prehospital with ST-segment-elevation myocardial infarction and transported directly to a percutaneous coronary intervention hospital, only 1 in 2 achieve device activation within 90 minutes. A median of 30 minutes is spent in the ED, contributing significantly to the failure to achieve timely reperfusion. The strategy to bypass the ED is used infrequently and represents a potential opportunity to improve reperfusion times.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Prehospital 12-lead electrocardiography (ECG) is critical to timely STEMI care although its use remains inconsistent. Previous studies to identify reasons for failure to obtain a prehospital ECG have generally only focused on individual emergency medical service (EMS) systems in urban areas. Our study objective was to identify patient, geographic, and EMS agency-related factors associated with failure to perform a prehospital ECG across a statewide geography.
We analyzed data from the Prehospital Medical Information System (PreMIS) in North Carolina from January 2008 to November 2010 for patients >30 years of age who used EMS and had a prehospital chief complaint of chest pain. Among 3.1 million EMS encounters, 134 350 patients met study criteria. From 2008-2010, 82 311 (61%) persons with chest pain received a prehospital ECG; utilization increased from 55% in 2008 to 65% in 2010 (trend P<0.001). Utilization by health referral region ranged from 22.9% to 74.2% and was lowest in rural areas. Men were more likely than women to have an ECG performed (63.0% vs 61.3%, adjusted RR 1.02, 95% CI 1.01 to 1.04). The certification-level of the EMS provider (paramedic vsbasic/intermediate) and system-level ECG equipment availability were the strongest predictors of ECG utilization. Persons in an ambulance with a certified paramedic were significantly more likely to receive a prehospital ECG than nonparamedics (RR 2.15, 95% CI 1.55, 2.99).
Across a large geographic area prehospital ECG use increased significantly, although important quality improvement opportunities remain. Increasing ECG availability and improving EMS certification and training levels are needed to improve overall care and reduce rural-urban treatment differences.
Full-text · Article · Jul 2013 · Journal of the American Heart Association
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Emergency medical services (EMS) are critical in the treatment of ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI). Prehospital system delays are an important target for improving timely STEMI care, yet few limited data are available.
Using a deterministic approach, we merged EMS data from the North Carolina Pre-hospital Medical Information System (PreMIS) with data from the Reperfusion of Acute Myocardial Infarction in Carolina Emergency Departments-Emergency Response (RACE-ER) Project. Our sample included all patients with STEMI from June 2008 to October 2010 who arrived by EMS and who had primary percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI). Prehospital system delays were compared using both RACE-ER and PreMIS to examine agreement between the 2 data sources.
Overall, 8,680 patients with STEMI in RACE-ER arrived at a PCI hospital by EMS; 21 RACE-ER hospitals and 178 corresponding EMS agencies across the state were represented. Of these, 6,010 (69%) patients were successfully linked with PreMIS. Linked and notlinked patients were similar. Overall, 2,696 patients were treated with PCI only and were taken directly to a PCI-capable hospital by EMS; 1,750 were transferred from a non-PCI facility. For those being transported directly to a PCI center, 53% reached the 90-minute target guideline goal. For those transferred from a non-PCI facility, 24% reached the 120-minute target goal for primary PCI.
We successfully linked prehospital EMS data with inhospital clinical data. With this linked STEMI cohort, less than half of patients reach goals set by guidelines. Such a data source could be used for future research and quality improvement interventions.
No preview · Article · Mar 2013 · American heart journal
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background:
The ultimate treatment goal for ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) is rapid reperfusion via primary percutaneous intervention (PCI). North Carolina has adopted a statewide STEMI referral strategy that advises paramedics to bypass local hospitals and transport STEMI patients directly to a PCI-capable hospital, even if a non-PCI-capable hospital is closer.
Methods and results:
We assessed the adherence of emergency medical services to this STEMI protocol, as well as subsequent associations with patient treatment times and outcomes by linking data from the Acute Coronary Treatment and Intervention Outcomes Network Registry(®)-Get With the Guidelines(™) and a statewide emergency medical services data system from June 2008 to September 2010 for all patients with STEMI. Patients were divided into those (1) transported directly to a PCI hospital, thereby bypassing a closer non-PCI hospital and (2) first taken to a closer non-PCI center and later transferred to a PCI hospital. Among 6010 patients with STEMI, 1288 were eligible and included in our study cohort. Of these, 826 (64%) were transported directly to a PCI facility, whereas 462 (36%) were first taken to a non-PCI hospital and later transferred. In a multivariable model, increase in differential driving time and cardiac arrest were associated with a lesser likelihood of being taken directly to a PCI center, whereas a history of PCI was associated with a higher likelihood of being taken directly to a PCI center. Patients sent directly to a PCI center were more likely to have times between first medical contact and PCI within guideline recommendations.
We found that patients who were sent directly to a PCI center had significantly shorter time to reperfusion.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Despite national guidelines calling for timely coronary artery reperfusion, treatment is often delayed, particularly for patients requiring interhospital transfer.
One hundred nineteen North Carolina hospitals developed coordinated plans to rapidly treat patients with ST-segment-elevation myocardial infarction according to presentation: walk-in, ambulance, or hospital transfer. A total of 6841 patients with ST-segment-elevation myocardial infarction (3907 directly presenting to 21 percutaneous coronary intervention hospitals, 2933 transferred from 98 non-percutaneous coronary intervention hospitals) were treated between July 2008 and December 2009 (age, 59 years; 30% women; 19% uninsured; chest pain duration, 91 minutes; shock, 9.2%). The rate of patients not receiving reperfusion fell from 5.4% to 4.0% (P=0.04). Treatment times for hospital transfer patients substantially improved. First-hospital-door-to-device time for hospitals that adopted a "transfer for percutaneous coronary intervention" reperfusion strategy fell from 117 to 103 minutes (P=0.0008), whereas times at hospitals with a mixed strategy of transfer or fibrinolysis fell from 195 to 138 minutes (P=0.002). Median door-to-device times for patients presenting directly to PCI hospitals fell from 64 to 59 minutes (P<0.001). Emergency medical services-transported patients were most likely to reach door-to-device goals, with 91% treated within 90 minutes and 52% being treated with 60 minutes. Patients treated within guideline goals had a mortality of 2.2% compared with 5.7% for those exceeding guideline recommendations (P<0.001).
Through extension of regional coordination to an entire state, rapid diagnosis and treatment of ST-segment-elevation myocardial infarction has become an established standard of care independently of healthcare setting or geographic location.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: For patients with an acute ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction, cardiac catheterization laboratory (CCL) activation by emergency medical technicians or emergency physicians has been shown to substantially reduce treatment times. One drawback to this approach involves overtriage, whereby CCL staffs are activated for patients who ultimately do not require emergent coronary angiography or for patients who undergo angiography but are not found to have coronary artery occlusion.
We examined CCL activation at 14 primary angioplasty hospitals to determine the course of management, including the rate of inappropriate activation. Among 3973 activations (29% by emergency medical technicians, 71% by emergency physicians) between December 2008 and December 2009, appropriate CCL activations occurred for 3377 patients (85%), with 2598 patients (76.9% of appropriate activations) receiving primary percutaneous coronary intervention. Reasons for inappropriate activations (596 patients; 15%) included ECG reinterpretations (427 patients; 72%) or the fact that the patient was not a CCL candidate (169 patients; 28%). The rate of cancellation because of reinterpretation of emergency medical technicians' ECG (6% of all activations) was more common than for cancellation because of reinterpretation of emergency physicians' ECG (4.6%).
This represents the first report of the rates of CCL cancellation for ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction system activation by emergency medical technicians and emergency physicians in a large group of hospitals organized within a statewide program. The high rate of coronary intervention and relatively low rate of inappropriate activation suggest that systematic CCL activation by emergency personnel on a broad scale is feasible and accurate, and these rates set a benchmark for ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction systems.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The ability to rapidly identify patients with ST-segment elevation-myocardial infarction (STEMI) at hospitals without percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) and transfer them to hospitals with PCI capability is critical to STEMI regionalization efforts. Our objective was to assess the association of prehospital, emergency department (ED), and hospital processes of care implemented as part of a statewide STEMI regionalization program with door-in-door-out times at non-PCI hospitals.
Door-in-door-out times for 436 STEMI patients at 55 non-PCI hospitals were determined before (July 2005 to September 2005) and after (January 2007 to March 2007) a year-long implementation of standardized protocols as part of a statewide regionalization program (Reperfusion of Acute Myocardial Infarction in North Carolina Emergency Departments, RACE). The association of 8 system care processes (encompassing emergency medical services [EMS], ED, and hospital settings) with door-in-door-out times was determined using multivariable linear regression. Median door-in-door-out times improved significantly with the intervention (before: 97.0 minutes, interquartile range, 56.0 to 160.0 minutes; after: 58.0 minutes, interquartile range, 35.0 to 90.0 minutes; P<0.0001). Hospital, ED, and EMS care processes were each independently associated with shorter door-in-door-out times (-17.7 [95% confidence interval, -27.5 to -7.9]; -10.1 [95% confidence interval, -19.0 to -1.1], and -7.3 [95% confidence interval, -13.0 to -1.5] minutes for each additional hospital, ED, and EMS process, respectively). Combined, adoption of EMS processes was associated with the shortest median treatment times (44 versus 138 minutes for hospitals that adopted all EMS processes versus none).
Prehospital, ED, and hospital processes of care were independently associated with shorter door-in-door-out times for STEMI patients requiring transfer. Adoption of several EMS processes was associated with the largest reduction in treatment times. These findings highlight the need for an integrated, system-based approach to improving STEMI care.
Preview · Article · Jun 2011 · Circulation Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The management of low-risk patients presenting to emergency departments is a common and challenging clinical problem entailing 8 million emergency department visits annually. Although a majority of these patients do not have a life-threatening condition, the clinician must distinguish between those who require urgent treatment of a serious problem and those with more benign entities who do not require admission. Inadvertent discharge of patients with acute coronary syndrome from the emergency department is associated with increased mortality and liability, whereas inappropriate admission of patients without serious disease is neither indicated nor cost-effective. Clinical judgment and basic clinical tools (history, physical examination, and electrocardiogram) remain primary in meeting this challenge and affording early identification of low-risk patients with chest pain. Additionally, established and newer diagnostic methods have extended clinicians' diagnostic capacity in this setting. Low-risk patients presenting with chest pain are increasingly managed in chest pain units in which accelerated diagnostic protocols are performed, comprising serial electrocardiograms and cardiac injury markers to exclude acute coronary syndrome. Patients with negative findings usually complete the accelerated diagnostic protocol with a confirmatory test to exclude ischemia. This is typically an exercise treadmill test or a cardiac imaging study if the exercise treadmill test is not applicable. Rest myocardial perfusion imaging has assumed an important role in this setting. Computed tomography coronary angiography has also shown promise in this setting. A negative accelerated diagnostic protocol evaluation allows discharge, whereas patients with positive findings are admitted. This approach has been found to be safe, accurate, and cost-effective in low-risk patients presenting with chest pain.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Prior studies have demonstrated differences in time to reperfusion for ST-segment-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) in women, minorities, and the elderly, relative to their counterparts. Regionalization has been shown to improve overall STEMI treatment times, but its impact on care differences among these important patient subgroups is unknown. The objective of this analysis was to assess the impact of a statewide system of STEMI care (The Reperfusion of Acute Myocardial Infarction in North Carolina Emergency Departments) on treatment times according to patient sex, race, and age.
STEMI treatment times were determined before (July 2005 to September 2005) and after (January 2007 to March 2007) a year-long implementation of coordinated regional treatment protocols. Times in the pre- and postintervention periods were compared by mixed-effects models. A total of 2063 STEMI patients were analyzed: 1140 at percutaneous coronary intervention hospitals and 923 at non-percutaneous coronary intervention hospitals. The Reperfusion of Acute Myocardial Infarction in North Carolina Emergency Departments was associated with significant improvements in treatment times in women and the elderly, including door-to-ECG, door-to-device, door-in-door-out, and door-to-needle times (all P<0.05). Temporal improvements in treatment times at percutaneous coronary intervention hospitals were not significantly different in blacks than in whites. There was a reduction in baseline treatment disparities in door-to-ECG times in women versus men (4.4-minute reduction in difference; 95% CI, -8.1 to -0.4; P=0.03). After Reperfusion of Acute Myocardial Infarction in North Carolina Emergency Departments, an age-treatment time gap persisted in the elderly, relative to younger patients.
A statewide STEMI regionalization program was associated with comparable improvement in treatment times for female, black, and elderly patients compared with middle-aged, white male patients. Nevertheless, there remain opportunities to further narrow treatment differences, particularly among the elderly.
No preview · Article · Sep 2010 · Circulation Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes