Time-to-reperfusion in STEMI undergoing interhospital transfer using smartphone and WhatsApp messenger

Am J Emerg Med. 2015 Oct;33(10):1382-4. doi: 10.1016/j.ajem.2015.07.029. Epub 2015 Jul 31.


Objective: The objective of this study is to assess the efficacy of WhatsApp application as a communication method among the emergency physician (EP) in a rural hospital without percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) capability and the interventional cardiologist at a tertiary PCI center.

Background: Current guidelines recommend that patients with ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) receive primary PCI within 90 minutes. This door-to-balloon (D2B) time has been difficult to achieve in rural STEMI.

Methods and results: We evaluated 108 patients with STEMI in a rural hospital with emergency department but without PCI capability to determine the impact of WhatsApp triage and activation of the cardiac catheterization laboratory on D2B time. The images were obtained from cases of suspected STEMI using the smartphones by the EP and were sent to the interventional cardiologist via the WhatsApp application (group 1, n=53). The control group included concurrently treated patients with STEMI during the same period but not receiving triage (group 2, n=55). The D2B time was significantly shorter in the intervention group (109±31 vs 130±46 minutes, P<.001) with significant reduction in false STEMI rate as well.

Conclusion: This study demonstrates that use of WhatsApp triage with activation of the cardiac catheterization laboratory was associated with shorter D2B time and results in a greater proportion of patients achieving guideline recommendations. The method is cheap, quick, and easy to operate.

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Hospitals, Rural
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mobile Applications*
  • Myocardial Infarction / therapy*
  • Patient Transfer / methods
  • Percutaneous Coronary Intervention / standards*
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Smartphone*
  • Telecommunications / instrumentation
  • Telecommunications / standards
  • Time-to-Treatment / standards*
  • Triage / methods