Introduction: Thrombolysis was rarely given in emergency departments in Scotland when last studied in 1996. This study aimed to review the current practice of Scottish emergency departments with respect to thrombolysis for acute myocardial infarction.
Methods: Postal questionnaires were sent to all emergency departments in Scotland staffed by at least one consultant in emergency medicine, assessing the processes used for thrombolysis of acute myocardial infarction in the emergency department. A reminder letter was sent to non-responders after 1 month. All results were anonymized.
Results: The response rate was 77% (23 questionnaires from 30 hospitals). Twenty (87%) emergency departments performed thrombolysis according to protocol. In 13 emergency departments, thrombolysis was initiated by the emergency department staff, in six by on-call physicians and one emergency department had nurse-led thrombolysis. Twelve emergency departments occasionally received patients who had been given prehospital thrombolysis. Six hospitals had on-site primary angioplasty but only two hospitals had a 24-h service. Thirteen respondents thought the emergency department was the most appropriate place for thrombolysis, four felt that prehospital thrombolysis was best and one thought that coronary care was optimal. Four respondents felt that prehospital or the emergency department were the best options.
Conclusion: Most emergency departments in Scotland are now administering thrombolysis for patients with acute myocardial infarction. Thrombolysis, delivered either in the prehospital arena or in the emergency department, is likely to be the primary option for patients with acute myocardial infarction in Scotland in the foreseeable future.