Objective: To assess the effect of patient and system characteristics on emergency medical service (EMS) delays prior to arrival at hospital in suspected ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI). Methods: This was a retrospective observational study of 1739 patients who presented with suspected STEMI to the EMS in Melbourne, Australia between October 2011 and January 2014. Our primary outcome measure was call-to-hospital time, defined as the time in minutes from emergency call to hospital arrival. We examined the association of patient and system characteristics on call-to-hospital time using multivariable linear regression. Results: The mean call-to-hospital time was 60.1 min (standard deviation 20.5) and the median travel distance was 13.0 km (interquartile range 7.2–23.1). In the multivariable model, patient characteristics associated with longer call-to-hospital time were age ≥75 years (2.3 min; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.6–4.0), female sex (1.9 min; 95% CI 0.3–3.4), pre-existing mental health disorder (4.0 min; 95% CI 1.9–6.1) or musculoskeletal disease (2.7 min; 95% CI 1.0–4.4), absence of chest pain (3.0 min; 95% CI 1.1–4.8), and presentation with clinical complications. System factors associated with call-to-hospital time include lower dispatch priority (12.7 min; 95% CI 9.0–16.5) and non-12-lead electrocardiography (ECG) capable ambulance first on scene (4.5 min; 95% CI 3.1–5.8). Patients who were not initially attended by a 12-lead capable ambulance were less likely to receive a 12-lead ECG within 10 min (18.5% vs 71.0%, P < 0.001). Conclusion: A range of patient and system factors may influence EMS delays in STEMI. However, optimising dispatch prioritisation and widespread availability of prehospital 12-lead ECG could lead to substantial reduction in time to treatment.
- emergency medical service
- ST-elevation myocardial infarction
- time factors