A comparison of paramedic versus basic emergency medical care of patients at high and low risk during acute myocardial infarction.
This prospective study compares the outcome of patients with acute myocardial infarction managed by mobile intensive care (paramedic phase) with that of similar patients managed by basic emergency medical care (control phase) in the same community before the introduction of paramedics. All paramedic-transported patients were managed according to a standard chest pain protocol with use of prophylactic lidocaine and, as needed, treatment for sinus bradycardia, hypotension and life-threatening ventricular arrhythmia. There were no specific interventions for supraventricular tachyarrhythmia or hypertension. All patients were treated under similar in-hospital protocols. Percent mortality in patients with hypotension, the highest risk subgroup in the control phase, was significantly lowered with paramedic-level care (69 versus 10%, p = 0.01). Patients with hypertension, a relatively low risk subgroup during the control phase (16% mortality), were also at lower risk during the paramedic phase (10% mortality). In fact, there was no mortality in either study phase for patients with an initial systolic blood pressure greater than 180 mm Hg. During the combined study phases, patients with normotension and tachycardia demonstrated a tendency toward higher percent mortality (33%) than either patients with normotension without tachycardia (10%) or those with hypertension and tachycardia (6%). Although the overall percent mortality was reduced by 24% (from 21 to 16%), this decrease was largely due to the improvement of patients with hypotension. Investigation into the feasibility of prehospital interventions for the high risk patient with acute myocardial infarction normotension and tachycardia appears warranted.
Pressley, JC; Severance, HW; Raney, MP; McKinnis, RA; Smith, MW; Hindman, MC; Wilson, BH; Wagner, GS
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