Factors Contributing to Door-to-Balloon Times of ≤90 Minutes in 97% of Patients with ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarction: Our One-Year Experience with a Heart Alert Protocol

Perm J. 2010 Fall;14(3):4-11. doi: 10.7812/TPP/10.977.


Context: Prompt percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) for patients with ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) can significantly reduce mortality and morbidity, although its effectiveness may be limited by delays in delivery. In March 2008, our hospital implemented a Heart Alert protocol to rapidly identify and treat patients with STEMI presenting to our Emergency Department (ED) with PCI, using strategies previously described to reduce door-to-balloon times. Before the Heart Alert protocol start date, patients with STEMI presenting to our ED were treated with thrombolysis.

Objective: We evaluated data from patients with STEMI after one year of use of our Heart Alert protocol to determine protocol success on the basis of the percentage of patients for whom the recommended door-to-balloon times of ≤90 minutes were met. We examined factors involved in implementation of the protocol that contributed to these results.

Design: We conducted a retrospective data and chart review for patients in the ED with STEMI who underwent PCI after a Heart Alert protocol activation between March 17, 2008, and March 17, 2009.

Results: During the study period, our staff met the recommended door-to-balloon time of ≤90 minutes (mean door-to-balloon time, 57.3 ± 17.6 minutes) for 70 of 72 patients (97%) presenting to our ED with STEMI. Sixty-five of the 72 patients (90.3%) survived to hospital discharge.

Conclusion: Initiation of a Heart Alert protocol at our hospital resulted in achievement of door-to-balloon times of ≤90 minutes for 97% of patients with STEMI. This achievement was obtained through careful preparation, training, and interdepartmental collaboration and occurred despite immediate conversion from a previous thrombolytic protocol.