Introduction: Patients with ST elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) require rapid identification and triage to initiate reperfusion therapy. Walk-in STEMI patients have longer treatment times compared to emergency medical service (EMS) transported patients. While effective triage of large numbers of critically ill patients in the emergency department is often cited as the reason for treatment delays, additional factors have not been explored. The purpose of this study was to evaluate baseline demographic and clinical differences between walk-in and EMS-transported STEMI patients and identify factors associated with prolonged door to balloon (D2B) time in walk-in STEMI patients.
Methods: We performed a retrospective review of 136 STEMI patients presenting to an urban academic teaching center from January 2009 through December, 2010. Baseline demographics, mode of hospital entry (walk-in versus EMS transport), treatment times, angiographic findings, procedures performed and in-hospital clinical events were collected. We compared walk-in and EMS-transported STEMI patients and identified independent factors of prolonged D2B time for walk-in patients using stepwise logistic regression analysis.
Results: Walk-in patients (n=51) were more likely to be Latino and presented with a higher heart rate, higher systolic blood pressure, prior history of diabetes mellitus and were more likely to have an elevated initial troponin value, compared to EMS-transported patients. EMS-transported patients (n=64) were more likely to be white and had a higher prevalence of left main coronary artery disease, compared to walk-in patients. Door to electrocardiogram (ECG), ECG to catheterization laboratory (CL) activation and D2B times were significantly longer for walk-in patients. Walk-in patients were more likely to have D2B time > 90 minutes, compared to EMS- transported patients; odds ratio 3.53 (95% CI 1.03, 12.07), p = 0.04. Stepwise logistic regression identified hospital entry mode as the only independent predictor for prolonged D2B time.
Conclusion: Baseline differences exist between walk-in and EMS-transported STEMI patients undergoing primary PCI. Hospital entry mode was the most important predictor for prolonged treatment times for primary PCI, independent of age, Latino ethnicity, heart rate, systolic blood pressure and initial troponin value. Prolonged door to ECG and ECG to CL activation times are modifiable factors associated with prolonged treatment times in walk-in STEMI patients. In addition to promoting the use of EMS transport, efforts are needed to rapidly identify and expedite the triage of walk-in STEMI patients. [West J Emerg Med. 2014;15(1):81–87.]