Enhancing the efficacy of delivering reperfusion therapy: a European and North American experience with ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction networks

Am Heart J. 2013 Feb;165(2):123-32. doi: 10.1016/j.ahj.2012.10.032. Epub 2012 Dec 4.


Advances in technique and adjunctive medication have improved outcome of ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) patients. However, the timely delivery and administration of reperfusion strategies to all eligible patients remain challenging. Currently, up to one-third of eligible STEMI patients in industrialized countries worldwide receive no specific reperfusion treatment, a problem that is rectified by the development and implementation of STEMI networks, as also recommended by the latest European Society of Cardiology and American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association guidelines. Indeed, over the last 5 years, published figures demonstrate that STEMI networks increase the percentage of patients treated by any reperfusion strategy, and the percentage of patients receiving treatment within the recommended time frames has also improved, thereby reducing in-hospital and long-term mortality to very low levels. This manuscript demonstrates how STEMI networks can be adapted to local needs and circumstances against pre-existing barriers and despite the heterogeneity in local situations, patient's characteristics, treatment delays, and distances for transfer. Modern and efficacious networks must be prepared to offer both primary percutaneous coronary intervention and thrombolytic therapy, preferably prehospital, as long as primary percutaneous coronary intervention cannot be guaranteed to all individuals within the recommended timeline.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Electrocardiography*
  • Emergency Medical Services / standards*
  • Europe
  • Humans
  • Myocardial Infarction / therapy*
  • Myocardial Reperfusion / standards*
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic*
  • Thrombolytic Therapy / standards*
  • United States