The American Heart Association recommends individuals with symptoms suggestive of acute coronary syndrome (ACS) activate the Emergency Medical Services' (EMS) 911 system for ambulance transport to the emergency department (ED), which enables treatment to begin prior to hospital arrival. Despite this recommendation, the majority of patients with symptoms suspicious of ACS continue to self-transport to the ED. The IMMEDIATE AIM study was a prospective study that enrolled individuals who presented to the ED with ischemic symptoms.The purpose of this secondary analysis was to determine differences in patients presenting the ED for possible ACS who arrive by ambulance versus self-transport on: 1) time-to-initial hospital electrocardiogram (ECG), 2) presence of ischemic ECG changes, and 3) patient characteristics.Initial 12-lead ECGs acquired upon patient arrival to the ED were evaluated for ST-elevation, ST-depression, and T-wave inversion. ECG signs of ischemia were analyzed both individually and collapsed into an independent dichotomous variable (ED ECG ischemia yes/no) for statistical analysis. Patient characteristics tested included: gender, age, race, ethnicity, English speaking, living alone, mode of transport, and presenting symptoms (chest pain, jaw pain, shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting, syncope, and clinical history).In 1299 patients (mean age 63.9, 46.7% male), 384 (29.6%) patients arrived by ambulance to the ED. The mean time-to-initial ECG was 47minutes for ambulance patients versus 53minutes for self-transport patients (p<0.001). Mode of transport was found to be an independent predictor for time-to-initial ECG controlling for age, gender, and race (p=0.004). There were significantly higher rates of ECG changes of ischemia for patients who arrived by ambulance versus self-transport (p=0.02), and patient characteristics differed by mode of transport to the ED.Our findings indicate that less than 30% of individuals with symptoms of ACS activate the EMS '911' system for ambulance transport to the ED. Individuals more likely to activate 911 have timelier ECG but higher rates of ischemic changes, specifically ST-depression and T-wave inversion. Individuals least likely to activate 911 are women, younger individuals, Latino ethnicity, live with a significant other, and those experiencing chest or jaw pain.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jelectrocard.2016.08.008
View details for PubMedID 27614946
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5159244