BACKGROUND: Reperfusion therapy for acute myocardial infarction (AMI) is a time-dependent intervention that can reduce infarct-related morbidity and mortality. Out-of-hospital patient delay from symptom onset until emergency department (ED) presentation may reduce the expected benefit of reperfusion therapy.
OBJECTIVE: To determine the impact of a community educational intervention to reduce patient delay time on the use of reperfusion therapy for AMI.
METHODS: This was a randomized, controlled community-based trial to enhance patient recognition of AMI symptoms and encourage early ED presentation with resultant increased reperfusion therapy rates for AMI. The study took place in 44 hospitals in 20 pair-matched communities in five U.S. geographic regions. Eligible study subjects were non-institutionalized patients without chest injury (aged > or =30 years) who were admitted to participating hospitals and who received a hospital discharge diagnosis of AMI (ICD 410); n = 4,885. For outcome assessment, patients were excluded if they were without survival data (n = 402), enrolled in thrombolytic trials (n = 61), receiving reperfusion therapy >12 hours after ED arrival (n = 628), or missing symptom onset or reperfusion times (n = 781). The applied intervention was an educational program targeting community organizations and the general public, high-risk patients, and health professionals in target communities. The primary outcome was a change in the proportion of AMI patients receiving early reperfusion therapy (i.e., within one hour of ED arrival or within six hours of symptom onset). Trends in reperfusion therapy rates were determined after adjustment for patient demographics, presenting blood pressure, cardiac history, and insurance status. Four-month baseline was compared with the 18-month intervention period.
RESULTS: Of 3,013 selected AMI patients, 40% received reperfusion therapy. Eighteen percent received therapy within one hour of ED arrival (46% of treated patients), and 32% within six hours of symptom onset (80% of treated patients). No significant difference in the trends in reperfusion therapy rates was attributable to the intervention, although increases in early reperfusion therapy rates were noted during the first six months of the intervention. A significant association of early reperfusion therapy use with ambulance use was identified.
CONCLUSIONS: Community-wide educational efforts to enhance patient response to AMI symptoms may not translate into sustained changes in reperfusion practices. However, an increased odds for early reperfusion therapy use during the initiation of the intervention and the association of early therapy with ambulance use suggest that reperfusion therapy rates can be enhanced.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/robert_goldberg/237/