Background: Patient decision delay is the main reason why many patients fail to receive timely medical intervention for symptoms of acute coronary syndrome (ACS).
Study objectives: This study examines the validity of slow-onset and fast-onset ACS presentations and their influence on ACS prehospital delay times. A fast-onset ACS presentation is characterized by sudden, continuous, and severe chest pain, and slow-onset ACS pertains to all other ACS presentations.
Methods: Baseline data pertaining to medical profiles, prehospital delay times, and ACS symptoms were recorded for all ACS patients who participated in a large multisite randomized control trial (RCT) in Dublin, Ireland. Patients were interviewed 2-4 days after their ACS event, and data were gathered using the ACS Response to Symptom Index.
Results: Only baseline data from the RCT, N = 893 patients, were analyzed. A total of 65% (n = 577) of patients experienced slow-onset ACS presentation, whereas 35% (n = 316) experienced fast-onset ACS. Patients who experienced slow-onset ACS were significantly more likely to have longer prehospital delays than patients with fast-onset ACS (3.5 h vs. 2.0 h, respectively, t = -5.63, df 890, p < 0.001). A multivariate analysis of delay revealed that, in the presence of other known delay factors, the only independent predictors of delay were slow-onset and fast-onset ACS (β = -.096, p < 0.002) and other factors associated with patient behavior.
Conclusion: Slow-onset ACS and fast-onset ACS presentations are associated with distinct behavioral patterns that significantly influence prehospital time frames. As such, slow-onset ACS and fast-onset ACS are legitimate ACS presentation phenomena that should be seriously considered when examining the factors associated with prehospital delay.
Keywords: ACS presentations; Acute Coronary Syndrome symptoms; fast-onset ACS; patient decision delay; slow-onset ACS.
Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.