Transfer Travel Times for Primary Percutaneous Coronary Intervention From Low-Volume and Non-Percutaneous Coronary Intervention-Capable Hospitals to High-Volume Centers in Florida

Ann Emerg Med. 2011 Sep;58(3):257-66. doi: 10.1016/j.annemergmed.2011.02.022. Epub 2011 Apr 19.


Study objective: Current guidelines recommend that ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) patients receive percutaneous coronary intervention less than or equal to 90 minutes from first medical contact, preferably at high-volume percutaneous coronary intervention centers (≥400 percutaneous coronary interventions annually). Because many patients present to low-volume or non-percutaneous coronary intervention-capable STEMI referral hospitals, timely percutaneous coronary intervention treatment requires effective transfer systems, which include interfacility transport times of less than 30 minutes. We investigate the geographic feasibility of achieving timely interfacility transport from STEMI referral hospitals to percutaneous coronary intervention hospitals in Florida.

Methods: Using 2006 Florida hospital discharge data, we calculated driving times between STEMI referral hospitals and the nearest medium-/high-volume percutaneous coronary intervention centers. We plotted transfer travel time cumulative proportion survival curves for hospitals and patients to assess the feasibility of transfer within 30 minutes to higher-volume facilities. Differences by geographic location (rural versus urban) and patient race/ethnicity were examined.

Results: In 2006, 77% of STEMI referral hospitals had transfer travel times within 30 minutes; 90th percentile for interhospital driving time was 56 minutes. For patients at STEMI referral hospitals, 85.6% were at facilities within a 30-minute drive of a high-/medium-volume percutaneous coronary intervention center; 90th percentile was 31 minutes. We found marked rural/urban disparities, with longer average driving times for patients in rural and small metropolitan counties. Significant racial/ethnic disparities in transfer travel times were not observed, although 90th percentile driving times were highest for blacks.

Conclusion: Driving times do not pose a major geographic barrier to transfer of STEMI patients in Florida. A majority of STEMI patients could be transferred from STEMI referral hospitals to high-volume percutaneous coronary intervention centers within 30 minutes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Angioplasty, Balloon, Coronary / statistics & numerical data*
  • Cardiac Care Facilities
  • Continental Population Groups / statistics & numerical data
  • Florida
  • Healthcare Disparities
  • Hospitals, General
  • Hospitals, Rural
  • Humans
  • Myocardial Infarction / therapy*
  • Patient Transfer / statistics & numerical data*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Time Factors