Evaluation of the time saved by prehospital initiation of reteplase for ST-elevation myocardial infarction: results of The Early Retavase-Thrombolysis in Myocardial Infarction (ER-TIMI) 19 trial

J Am Coll Cardiol. 2002 Jul 3;40(1):71-7. doi: 10.1016/s0735-1097(02)01936-8.


Objectives: The Early Retavase-Thrombolysis In Myocardial Infarction (ER-TIMI) 19 trial tested the feasibility of prehospital initiation of the bolus fibrinolytic reteplase (rPA) and determined the time saved by prehospital rPA in the setting of contemporary emergency cardiac care.

Background: Newer bolus fibrinolytics have undergone only limited evaluation for prehospital administration. In addition, as door-to-drug times have decreased, the relevance of findings from prior trials of prehospital fibrinolysis has become less certain.

Methods: Patients (n = 315) with ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) were enrolled in 20 emergency medical systems in North America. The time from emergency medical service (EMS) arrival to administration of a fibrinolytic was compared between study patients receiving prehospital rPA and sequential control patients from 6 to 12 months before the study who received a fibrinolytic in the hospital.

Results: Acute myocardial infarction was confirmed in 98%. The median time from EMS arrival to initiation of rPA was 31 min (25th to 75th percentile, 24 min to 37 min). The time from EMS arrival to in-hospital fibrinolytic for 630 control patients was 63 min (25th to 75th percentile, 48 min to 89 min), resulting in a time saved of 32 min (p < 0.0001). By 30 min after first medical contact, 49% of study patients had received the first bolus of fibrinolytic compared with only 5% of controls (p < 0.0001). In-hospital mortality was 4.7%. Intracranial hemorrhage occurred in 1.0%.

Conclusions: Prehospital administration of rPA is a feasible approach to accelerating reperfusion in patients with STEMI. Valuable time savings can be achieved in the setting of contemporary transport and door-to-drug times and may translate into an improvement in clinical outcomes.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Emergency Medical Services
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Fibrinolytic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Infarction / drug therapy*
  • Myocardial Reperfusion
  • Recombinant Proteins / therapeutic use*
  • Thrombolytic Therapy*
  • Time Factors
  • Tissue Plasminogen Activator / therapeutic use*


  • Fibrinolytic Agents
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • reteplase
  • Tissue Plasminogen Activator