Door-to-drug and door-to-balloon times: where can we improve? Time to reperfusion therapy in patients with ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI)

Am Heart J. 2006 Jun;151(6):1281-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ahj.2005.07.015.


Background: To better understand hospital performance in door-to-drug and door-to-balloon times for patients with STEMI, we examined hospital-level variation in key subintervals of door-to-drug time (door-to-electrocardiogram [ECG] and ECG-to-drug) and of door-to-balloon time (door-to-ECG, ECG-to-lab, lab-to-balloon). We sought to identify achievable subinterval times based on the experience of top performing hospitals.

Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional analysis, using data from the National Registry of Myocardial Infarction, of admissions between January 1, 2001, and December 31, 2002 (20435 patients receiving fibrinolytic therapy in 693 hospitals, and 13387 patients receiving percutaneous coronary intervention in 340 hospitals). Using hierarchical regression modeling, we estimated hospital-level geometric means of each subinterval, adjusted for patient clinical characteristics. We ranked hospitals based on the proportion of patients treated within 30 minutes for door-to-drug time and 90 minutes for door-to-balloon times and compared adjusted subinterval times across these groups.

Results: The higher performing hospitals (top 20%) in door-to-drug time and door-to-balloon times had significantly shorter times in nearly all subintervals compared with other hospitals, adjusted for patient clinical characteristics. Adjusted mean subinterval times in higher performing hospitals in door-to-drug time were 6.8 minutes (SD = 1.7) for door-to-ECG and 18.7 minutes (SD = 3.5) for ECG-to-drug. Adjusted mean subinterval times in higher performing hospitals in door-to-balloon time were 7.9 minutes (SD = 1.7) for door-to-ECG, 47.8 minutes (SD = 7.1) for ECG-to-lab, and 29.0 minutes (5.4) for lab-to-balloon, adjusted for patient clinical characteristics.

Conclusions: Substantial national attention is being directed at improving time to treatment of patients with STEMI. These data suggest achievable subinterval times for hospitals seeking to improve performance in this important quality indicator.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Angioplasty, Balloon, Coronary*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Electrocardiography
  • Female
  • Fibrinolytic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Myocardial Infarction / diagnosis
  • Myocardial Infarction / drug therapy
  • Myocardial Infarction / therapy*
  • Myocardial Reperfusion / standards*
  • Time Factors


  • Fibrinolytic Agents