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Emergency Department Activation of Interventional Cardiology to Reduce Door-to-Balloon Time

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Background: Despite American College of Cardiology (ACC) and American Heart Association (AHA) guidelines, many hospitals have door-to-balloon times in excess of 90 minutes. Emergency Department (ED) activation of interventional cardiology has been described as an important strategy to reduce door-to-balloon time. However, prior studies on ED activation have been in suburban hospitals with door-to-balloon times near the ACC/AHA targeted times.

Objective: To determine if ED activation of interventional cardiology could significantly improve reperfusion times and reach the ACC/AHA target of 90 minutes or less in a safety net hospital, a Level I trauma center and teaching hospital served as a primarily uninsured and underinsured patient population with door-to-balloon times ranking in the lowest quartile of United States hospitals.

Methods: In this study, door-to balloon times before and after implementation of ED activation were compared by retrospective chart review.

Results: Eighty patients were included in the study, 48 before and 32 after ED activation of interventional cardiology. Median door-to-balloon time decreased from 163.5 minutes before to 130 minutes after ED activation, a significant difference of 33.5 minutes (p=0.028). Door-to-balloon time on nights, weekends and holidays decreased from a median of 165.5 minutes to 130 minutes, a reduction of 35.5 minutes, which also reached statistical significance (p=0.029).

Conclusion: ED activation of interventional cardiology produced a statistically significant reduction in door-to-balloon time. However, the reduction was not enough to achieve a door-to-balloon time of less than 90 minutes. Safety net hospitals with door-to-balloon times in the lowest quartile nationally may require multiple strategies to achieve targeted myocardial reperfusion times. [West J Emerg Med. 2010; 11(4):363-366.]

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