• ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction;
  • door-to-balloon time;
  • prehospital ECG



National guidelines have been set to achieve door-to-balloon time (D2B) is less than 90 minutes to improve outcomes for patients with STEMI. The purpose of this study is to see if a more aggressive approach utilizing prehospital ECGs could improve reperfusion times.


The EMS personnel obtained a 12-lead ECG during initial assessment in the field from patients with chest pain. The ECG was immediately transmitted to the ER physician by cellular link to a computer receiving station. The ER physician reviewed the ECG digital tracing. The cardiac catheterization laboratory (CCL) team was activated from the patients' homes. Patients were transported from the field directly to the CCL by EMS bypassing the emergency department.


The mean D2B for patients with initial ECG in hospital in all three hospitals combined was 90.5 minutes, compared to 60.2 minutes in patients with prehospital ECG. (P < 0.0001). When analyzing the mean D2B in regards to times of presentation, we found a significant reduction in mean D2B in patients presenting during working hours (75 minutes) compared with those presenting during off hours (98 minutes) in the control group. However, with the use of prehospital ECGs, there was a significant reduction in D2B regardless of what time the patient arrived in the ER.


Utilizing the prehospital ECG as a tool to bypass ER triage significantly decreases D2B times in patients with STEMI. This technology has the potential to substantially expedite reperfusion therapy in patients with STEMI. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.