Access to primary percutaneous coronary intervention for ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction in Canada: a geographic analysis

Open Med. 2010;4(1):e13-21. Epub 2010 Feb 2.


Background: Primary percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) is preferred over fibrinolysis for the treatment of ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI). In the United States, nearly 80% of people aged 18 years and older have access to a PCI facility within 60 minutes. We conducted this study to evaluate the areas in Canada and the proportion of the population aged 40 years and older with access to a PCI facility within 60, 90 and 120 minutes.

Methods: We used geographic information systems to estimate travel times by ground transport to PCI facilities across Canada. Time to dispatch, time to patient and time at the scene were considered in the overall access times. Using 2006 Canadian census data, we extracted the number of adults aged 40 years and older who lived in areas with access to a PCI facility within 60, 90 and 120 minutes. We also examined the effect on these estimates of the hypothetical addition of new PCI facilities in underserved areas.

Results: Only a small proportion of the country's geographic area was within 60 minutes of a PCI facility. Despite this, 63.9% of Canadians aged 40 and older had such access. This proportion varied widely across provinces, from a low of 15.8% in New Brunswick to a high of 72.6% in Ontario. The hypothetical addition of a single facility to each of 4 selected provinces could increase the proportion by 3.2% to 4.3%, depending on the province. About 470 000 adults would gain access in such a scenario of new facilities.

Interpretation: We found that nearly two-thirds of Canada's population aged 40 years and older had timely access to PCI facilities. The proportion varied widely across the country. Such information can inform the development of regionalized STEMI care models.