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Potential impact of interventions to reduce times to thrombolysis
  1. S Goodacre1,
  2. A-M Kelly2,
  3. D Kerr2
  1. 1Health Service Research and Emergency Medicine, Medical Care Research Unit, University of Sheffield, UK
  2. 2Joseph Epstein Centre for Emergency Medicine Research, Melbourne, Australia
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr S W Goodacre
 Medical Care Research Unit, Regent Court, 30 Regent Street, Sheffield S1 4DA, UK;


Objectives: To estimate the lifesaving potential of interventions to accelerate the administration of intravenous thrombolysis for myocardial infarction.

Methods: Data were analysed from a prospective, observational study of all patients transported to hospital by ambulance, who subsequently received intravenous thrombolysis at 20 hospitals and two ambulance services in Victoria, Australia (n = 1147). Regression models estimated the association between predictor variables age, sex, route of referral, symptom onset to call time, ambulance pre-notification of the receiving hospital, emergency department thrombolysis, and the outcome, time to thrombolysis. Further modelling estimated the number needed to treat to save one life by several recommended interventions to reduce time delays.

Results: Presentation via a rural hospital or general practitioner was associated with an approximate doubling of the onset to call time (2.08 and 2.30 respectively). Ambulance-hospital pre-notification and emergency department thrombolysis reduced door to needle times by 21% and 27% respectively. Modelling showed that each of the following interventions would be expected to save one life: 1069 hospital pre-notifications, 714 cases of emergency department thrombolysis, 184 cases of prehospital thrombolysis, 340 cases to bypass their rural hospital, or 50 cases to bypass their general practitioner.

Conclusions: Hospital pre-notification and emergency department thrombolysis reduce time delays, although the mortality impact seems to be modest. Prehospital thrombolysis has the potential to save lives, although validation in real practice is required. Advising patients to call directly for an ambulance, rather than the general practitioner, has the greatest potential to save lives.

  • ED, emergency department
  • AMI, acute myocardial infarction
  • CTN, call to needle
  • CCU, coronary care unit
  • OTC, onset to call
  • CTD, call to dispatch
  • DTS, dispatch to scene
  • DTN, door to needle
  • thrombolysis
  • myocardial infarction
  • emergency medical services
  • modelling

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  • Funding: The Victorian call-to-needle time study was supported by a grant from the Australian Rotary Health Research Fund. Steve Goodacre was supported by a NHS R&D Health Services Research Fellowship.

  • Conflicts of interest: none declared.