Critical Appraisal of Medical System Performance for STEMI Management – a Comprehensive Analysis of Time Efficiency

DOI: 10.2478/jce-2024-0008


Background: Time intervals related to ST-segment myocardial infarction (STEMI) revascu- larization are central determinants for patient outcomes. The current capability of the Ro- manian STEMI program to meet guideline-recommended time intervals is largely unknown. Aims: The present study aims to assess the ability of a regional STEMI network to obtain guideline-recommended time intervals for primary percutaneous coronary intervention (pPCI) and to measure the occurrence and the extent of time delays. Materials and Meth- ods: This prospective study included 500 consecutive patients with STEMI at the “Prof. Dr. C.C. Iliescu” Emergency Institute for Cardiovascular Diseases, Bucharest, Romania during a period of 14 months. Complete ischemic timelines were created using several key timepoints. Results: A secondary route (transfer from another hospital) was noted in most cases. The main time intervals were the following: patient delay 209 min, emergency medical system delay 66 min, and PCI center delay at 70 min, totaling an ischemic time of 6.4 h. A provisional stop at another hospital involved the addition of 113 min (1.8 h) until STEMI diagnosis and an additional 83 min (1.3 h) from diagnosis to revascularization, totaling a supplementary isch- emic time of 3.1 h. In total, 41.5% of the patients were revascularized between 2 and 6 h from symptoms onset. The objective of revascularization in less than 120 min (from first medical contact) was accomplished in 35.5% of the patients. Prehospital thrombolysis was performed in 6.4% of the cases, although its potential benefits could have been expected in 64.5% of the patients. Conclusions: Patients with STEMI arrive predominantly via secondary routes to the PCI center, which implies significantly increased ischemic times. The ambulance alert system and primary routes represent by far the most efficient, albeit still imperfect methods of pre- hospital approach. Prehospital thrombolysis did not compensate for the gaps existing in the performance of the current system.