Tim Baker, MB BS, Emergency Physician; Scott McCoombe, PhD, Lecturer; Cate Mercer-Grant, BBus, Program manager; Susan Brumby, RN, MHM, Clinical Associate Professor.
Chest pain in rural communities; balancing decisions and distance
Article first published online: 4 APR 2011
© 2011 The Authors. EMA © 2011 Australasian College for Emergency Medicine and Australasian Society for Emergency Medicine
Emergency Medicine Australasia
Volume 23, Issue 3, pages 337–345, June 2011
How to Cite
Baker, T., McCoombe, S., Mercer-Grant, C. and Brumby, S. (2011), Chest pain in rural communities; balancing decisions and distance. Emergency Medicine Australasia, 23: 337–345. doi: 10.1111/j.1742-6723.2011.01412.x
- Issue published online: 14 JUN 2011
- Article first published online: 4 APR 2011
- Accepted 11 January 2011
- agricultural worker;
- chest pain;
- emergency medicine;
- health literacy;
- rural health service
Objective: This pilot study examines the prevalence of cardiac risk factors in a cohort of agricultural workers, assesses their knowledge of local emergency health services and investigates their decision-making abilities with regard to when and how they would seek help when experiencing chest pain.
Methods: Farm men and women were recruited from 20 rural Victorian sites and underwent health assessments for total cholesterol, blood glucose, weight, height and blood pressure. Participants completed a survey to determine their knowledge of chest pain treatment, local emergency services and likely response to chest pain.
Results: Cardiac risk factors within this cohort of 186 adult farming men and women were common, with 61% of men (58/95, 95% confidence interval [CI] 51–70) and 74% of women (68/91, 95% CI 65–83) either overweight or obese. When asked to name their nearest ED, 10% of participants (19/184, 95% CI 7–16) nominated health services or towns where no ED exists. Furthermore, 67% of respondents (123/185, 95% CI 59–73) believed it was safe to travel to hospital by car while potentially having a myocardial infarction.
Conclusions: This cohort of agricultural workers were at considerable risk of experiencing acute coronary events, but many would make decisions about when and how to seek medical help for chest pain that are at odds with published community guidelines. These results highlight the need for education to improve knowledge of local emergency services and address behavioural barriers to accessing care.