Pre-hospital delay in patients with acute coronary syndrome: factors associated with patient decision time and home-to-hospital delay

Eur J Cardiovasc Nurs. 2009 Mar;8(1):26-33. doi: 10.1016/j.ejcnurse.2008.05.001. Epub 2008 Jul 16.


Background: Pre-hospital delays in patients experiencing acute coronary syndromes (ACS) remain unacceptably long.

Aims: To examine simultaneously a wide range of clinical, sociodemographic and situational factors associated with total pre-hospital delay and its two components.

Methods: Pre-hospital delay data were collected from 228 patients with ACS using patient's medical notes and semi-structured interviews. Total pre-hospital delay (symptom onset to hospital admission) was divided into 2 components: decision time (symptom onset to call for medical help), and home-to-hospital delay (call for help to hospital admission).

Results: Shorter total pre-hospital delays and decision times were associated with ST segment myocardial infarction (STEMI), recognizing symptoms as cardiac in origin, being married, symptom onset outside the home and the presence of a bystander. Shorter home-to-hospital delays were more likely among younger patients, those experiencing an STEMI, and patients reporting a greater number of symptoms. Initial contact with emergency medical services was related to shorter total delays and decision times.

Conclusions: Different factors were associated with shorter times in the 2 component phases. Greater understanding of the factors impacting on the component phases may help target interventions more effectively and reduce pre-hospital delays.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute Coronary Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Acute Coronary Syndrome / psychology*
  • Acute Coronary Syndrome / therapy
  • Aged
  • Choice Behavior*
  • Decision Making*
  • Emergency Medical Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Marital Status / statistics & numerical data
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Myocardial Infarction / epidemiology
  • Myocardial Infarction / psychology
  • Myocardial Infarction / therapy
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Risk Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Time Factors
  • Transportation of Patients / statistics & numerical data*