Objective: The objective of this study is to assess the feasibility and safety of interhospital transfer (within up to 60 minutes) for primary/rescue coronary angioplasty of patients with myocardial infarction (AMI) complicated by an early onset of acute heart failure (AHF) admitted to a community hospital without PCI facilities.
Design and patients: From the multicenter randomized PRAGUE-1 study, a subgroup of 66 patients with AMI complicated by AHF on the first presentation to the community hospital were retrospectively analyzed. Group A patients (n = 21) were treated on site in community hospitals using thrombolysis (streptokinase), group B patients (n = 20) were transported with thrombolytic infusion to a PCI center for coronary angioplasty, and group C patients (n = 25) were immediately transported to a PCI center for primary angioplasty without thrombolysis.
Results: No patient died during transportation. One group B patient developed ventricular fibrillation during transfer. The time delay from the onset of chest pain to reperfusion was > 142 minutes, and 253 and 251 minutes in groups A, B, and C, respectively. Hospital stay (16 vs 11 vs 10 days, P = NS) was shorter in the angioplasty groups. Transported patients (groups B, C) displayed a significant decrease in heart failure progression within the first 24 hours after treatment (48% vs 15% vs 8%, P < 0.05). The combined end point, i.e., mortality + nonfatal reinfarction (43% vs 25% vs 8%, P < 0.05), was significantly less frequent in the coronary angioplasty group.
Conclusions: Interhospital transfer for coronary angioplasty of patients with AMI complicated by an early onset of AHF is feasible and safe. Transport for angioplasty may even reduce the risk of heart failure progression and improve clinical outcome compared to immediate thrombolysis in the nearest community hospital.