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Collaborative decision-making between paramedics and CCU nurses based on 12-lead ECG telemetry expedites the delivery of thrombolysis in ST elevation myocardial infarction
  1. S McLean1,
  2. G Egan2,
  3. P Connor2,
  4. A D Flapan1
  1. 1
    Directorate of Cardiology, The Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
  2. 2
    Scottish Ambulance Service, South-East Divisional HQ, Edinburgh, UK
  1. Mr S McLean, CTR Directorate Office, The Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, Little France Crescent, Edinburgh EH16 4SA, UK; scott.mclean{at}


Objectives: To describe a prehospital thrombolysis (PHT) and expedited inhospital thrombolysis (IHT) programme in south-east Scotland using prehospital 12-lead ECG recordings transmitted by telemetry and autonomous paramedic-administered thrombolysis with decision support being provided by coronary care nurses.

Design: Retrospective observational study.

Setting: Three hospitals in south-east Scotland covering a population of 778 468 served by 54 ambulance vehicles.

Patients: 11 840 patients who telephoned the ambulance service with “chest pain” over 20 months, during which 812 patients were admitted with ST segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI).

Main outcome measures: All calls and cardiac/potential cardiac calls to the ambulance service, type/time of patient presentation, symptoms/call/door-to-thrombolysis times.

Results: Of the 11 840 calls to the ambulance service for chest pain over 20 months of the initiative, 60% were cardiac/potentially cardiac-related by Scottish Ambulance Service triage. ST segment elevation was present in 8% of the 5150 12-lead ECGs transmitted by paramedics to the ECG receiving station in the CCU. Over the 20 months, 812 patients were admitted to the three hospitals with STEMI and 71% received thrombolysis. Median symptom-to-thrombolysis times were 91, 148 and 184 min, respectively, in the PHT, telemetry-facilitated IHT and self-presenting IHT groups. Median call-to-needle time for the PHT group was 40 min. In 2/146 cases the cardiologists judged that the patient should not have been administered PHT.

Conclusions: Based on prehospital 12-lead ECG telemetry, it is possible for paramedics and CCU nurses to conduct live reperfusion decision-making in patients with STEMI, with resultant benefits in symptoms-to-thrombolysis time.

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  • Competing interests: None declared.

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