Background: Reperfusion therapy is the treatment of choice in patients with ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) presenting within 12 hours after the onset of symptoms. However, a significant number of patients do not benefit from it because of the lack of access to well-organized emergency care. We aimed to investigate the evolution of STEMI treatment and mortality between 2004 and 2011 in an unselected population from central Romania and to demonstrate the role of a regional network in increasing the rates of reperfusion therapy with associated reduction of STEMI-related mortality in a region with very low primary percutaneous coronary intervention (pPCI) rates at baseline.
Methods: We analyzed the data of 5,899 consecutive patients with STEMI enrolled in this prospective study since 2004, after the initiation of an STEMI network in Central Romania and with continuous support of the Stent for Life Initiative.
Results: Introduction of the network was associated with an absolute change in the use of reperfusion therapy from 2004 to 2011 (26.94% vs 87.15%, P < .001) and of pPCI (10.88% vs 78.64%, P < .001) for patients presenting within 12 hours after the onset of symptoms, with a decrease of inhospital mortality from 20.73% to 6.35% (P < .001). In addition, the global inhospital mortality of all the STEMI population showed a significant decrease (23.18% vs 13.39%, P < .001).
Conclusions: Reduction of STEMI-related mortality was possible via implementation of pPCI, even in a region with low health care expenditures. The organization of an STEMI network led to a significant decrease in STEMI-related mortality, revealing the significant impact of the Stent for Life Initiative recommendations on patient outcomes.