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Prehospital Electrocardiogram Transmission and Prehospital Scene Time: A Retrospective Cohort Study

HumanInsight Prehospital Electrocardiogram Transmission and Prehospital Scene Time: A Retrospective Cohort Study

Telemed J E Health. 2023 Jan 3. doi: 10.1089/tmj.2022.0271. Online ahead of print.


Background: Telemedical transmission of prehospital electrocardiograms (ECGs) to a target clinic may improve clinical workflows and speed of intervention. However, whether ECG transmission delays prehospital workflows remains controversial. Therefore, we aimed to clarify whether ECG transmission prolongs prehospital scene time in patients diagnosed with acute coronary syndrome (ACS). Methods: We retrospectively included all patients diagnosed with ACS by prehospital emergency physicians from July 2016 to June 2019 at a single academic center. The primary endpoint was the effect of ECG transmission on prehospital scene time. The secondary endpoints were the effects of ECG diagnosis on prehospital scene time and quality of care. Multivariable regression was used to account for patients' age, physician specialty, completion of specialty training, and whether emergencies occurred throughout the day or night shifts as potential confounders. Results: A total of 1,106 cases were included, of which 154 ECG transmissions were performed. ECG transmission prolonged prehospital scene time by an average of 3 min: adjusted regression coefficient [95% confidence interval (95% CI)]: 3.24 (1.7-4.8), p < 0.001. Prehospital treatment time was not influenced by prehospital ECG-based diagnosis (ST-elevation myocardial infarction [STEMI] vs. non-ST-elevation ACS [NSTE-ACS]): adjusted regression coefficient (95% CI): 0.7 (-1.3 to 2.7), p = 0.490. Emergency physicians adhered to local standard operating procedures in 739 of 1,007 (73%) patients diagnosed with NSTE-ACS and 93 of 99 (94%) patients diagnosed with STEMI. A STEMI diagnosis compared with NSTE-ACS was associated with five times higher odds of adhering to standard operating procedures (odds ratio [95% CI]: 5.6 [2.7-14.6], p < 0.001). Conclusion: The observed delay of ∼3 min in the prehospital scene time by ECG transmission is clinically irrelevant. For patients prehospitally diagnosed with NSTE-ACS who do not meet STEMI criteria, adherence to standard operating procedures seems unjustifiably low and should be improved.

PMID:36595519 | DOI:10.1089/tmj.2022.0271

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