Effect on Treatment Delay of Prehospital Teletransmission of 12-lead Electrocardiogram to a Cardiologist for Immediate Triage and Direct Referral of Patients With ST-segment Elevation Acute Myocardial Infarction to Primary Percutaneous Coronary Intervention

Am J Cardiol. 2008 Apr 1;101(7):941-6. doi: 10.1016/j.amjcard.2007.11.038. Epub 2008 Jan 25.


Prehospital electrocardiogram (ECG) transmission to hospitals was shown to reduce time to treatment in patients with acute myocardial infarction. However, new technologies allow transmission directly to a mobile unit so an attending physician can respond irrespective of presence within or outside the hospital. The primary study purpose was to determine whether delays could be decreased in an urban area by transmitting a prehospital 12-lead ECG directly to the attending cardiologist's mobile telephone for rapid triage and transport to a primary percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) center, bypassing local hospitals and emergency departments. A secondary purpose was to describe whether transport would be safe despite longer transport times. During a 2-year period, patients with acute nontraumatic chest pain had their prehospital ECG transmitted directly to a cardiologist's mobile telephone. Time to treatment was compared with historic controls. After ECG evaluation, 168 patients (30%) were referred directly for PCI, and 146 of these (87%) underwent emergent catheterization. In referred patients, median time from 911 call to PCI was significantly shorter than in the control group (74 vs 127 minutes; p <0.001). Accordingly, door-to-PCI time was 63 minutes shorter for referred patients versus controls (34 vs 97 minutes; p <0.001). During transport, 7 patients (4%) experienced ventricular fibrillation; 3 patients (2%), ventricular tachycardia; and 1 patient (0.5%), pulseless electrical activity, including 2 deaths (1%) caused by treatment-resistant arrhythmia. In conclusion, transmission of a prehospital 12-lead ECG directly to the attending cardiologist's mobile telephone decreased door-to-PCI time by >1 hour when patients were transported directly to PCI centers, bypassing local hospitals. Ambulance transport seems safe despite longer transport times.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Angioplasty, Balloon, Coronary*
  • Cell Phone
  • Electrocardiography*
  • Emergency Medical Services
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Infarction / diagnosis*
  • Myocardial Infarction / therapy*
  • Telemedicine*
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Triage*