Background: Delay in seeking treatment for acute coronary syndrome (ACS) symptoms is a well recognised problem. While the factors that influence pre-hospital delay have been well researched, to date this information alone has been insufficient in altering delay behaviour.
Aim: This paper reports the results of a critical appraisal of previously tested interventions designed to reduce pre-hospital delay in seeking treatment for ACS symptoms.
Methods: The search was confined to interventions published between 1986 and the present that were written in English and aimed at reducing pre-hospital delay time. The following databases were searched using keywords: Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), Pubmed, Academic Search Premier, Ovid, Cochrane, British Nursing Index, and Google Scholar. A total of eight intervention studies were identified as relevant. This review was developed following a systematic comparative analysis of those eight studies.
Results: Seven of the eight interventions were based on mass media campaigns. One campaign was targeted at individuals. All were aimed at raising ACS symptom awareness and/or increasing prompt action in the presence of symptoms. Only two studies reported a statistically significant reduction in pre-hospital delay time.
Conclusion: In response to concerns about prolonged pre-hospital delay time in ACS, interventions targeting the problem have been developed. The literature indicates that responses to symptoms depend on a variety of factors. In light of this, interventions should include the scope of factors that can potentially influence pre-hospital delay time and ideally target those who are at greatest risk of an ACS event.