Door-to-needle time for administration of fibrinolytics in acute myocardial infarction in Cape Town

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South African Medical Journal

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OBJECTIVES: To determine the current door-to-needle time for the administration of fibrinolytics for acute myocardial infarction (AMI) in emergency centres (ECs) at three hospitals in Cape Town, and to compare it with the American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology (AHA/ACC) recommendation of 30 minutes as a marker of quality of care. METHODS: A retrospective review of case notes from January 2008 to July 2010 of all patients receiving thrombolytics for AMI in the ECs of three Cape Town hospitals. The total door-to-needle time was calculated and patient demographics and presentation, physician qualification, clinical symptomology and reasons for delays in thromobolytic administration were analysed. RESULTS: A total of 372 patients with acute ST elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) were identified; 161 patients were eligible for the study. The median door-to-needle time achieved was 54 minutes (range 13 - 553 mins). A door-to-needle time of 30 minutes or less was achieved in 33 (20.5%) patients; 51.3% of the patients arrived by ambulance; 34% of patients had a pre-hospital 12-lead ECG; and 88.8% had typical symptoms of myocardial infarction. Medical officers administered thrombolytics to 44.7% of the patients. The predominant infarct location on ECG was inferior (55.9%). CONCLUSION: A significant number of patients were not thrombolysed within 30 minutes of presentation. The lack of senior doctors, difficulty interpreting ECGs, atypical presentations and EC system delays prolonged the door-to-needle time in this study.