In the October 2008 issue of Emergency Medical Services, our very good friend Ivan Rokos, MD makes some comments that are worth repeating.
“[P]aramedics are now in a novel role, where they are able to diagnose STEMI faster and earlier than ever before using a prehospital EKG machine. This is important for two reasons: One is that hospital ED overcrowding has become a big issue and it’s sometimes challenging for a walk-in STEMI patient to have an EKG in a timely manner in an ED where staff and beds are pushed to the limit. In contrast, paramedics provide one-on-one care, so they can do a prehospital EKG very quickly. The second thing is that it’s increasingly recognized that a prehospital EKG done in isolation means nothing unless it’s acted upon by the receiving hospital, which can get its ED, cardiac cath lab and ICU ready to receive the patient when he arrives…”
“It’s very exciting in 2008 that paramedics are in a unique position to trigger a whole cascade of events that can make a big difference in a STEMI patient’s life,” says Rokos. “Basically, the clock has always started at the hospital door. The current cardiology guidelines recommend that the blocked artery should be open within 90 minutes from the hospital door to balloon inflation, but we want to push it up another notch, raise the bar on perfusion speed and set the clock not at the hospital door, but in the patient’s living room or office, or wherever the prehospital EKG shows a STEMI. That is the idea of the E2B Challenge.”
Are you up for the E2B Challenge? Join the E2B listserv here.