International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (Feb 2014)

Pre-Hospital ECG E-Transmission for Patients with Suspected Myocardial Infarction in the Highlands of Scotland

  • Gordon F. Rushworth,
  • Charlie Bloe,
  • H. Lesley Diack,
  • Rachel Reilly,
  • Calum Murray,
  • Derek Stewart,
  • Stephen J. Leslie

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 11, no. 2
pp. 2346 – 2360


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Patients with ST elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) require prompt treatment, best done by primary percutaneous coronary intervention (PPCI). However, for patients unable to receive PPCI, immediate pre-hospital thrombolysis (PHT) is the best alternative. Evidence indicates that diagnostic and management support for staff increases the use of PHT. This study aimed to describe the patient demographics and management of patients, to determine any potential inter-area differences in referral rates to the ECG e-transmission service and to explore the views and experiences of key staff involved in ECG e-transmission within NHS Highland. Data from 2,025 patient episodes of ECG e-transmission identified a statistically significant geographical variation in ECG e-transmission and PHT delivery. Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) staff were more likely than GPs to deliver PHT overall, however, GPs were more likely to deliver in remote areas. Interviews with six Cardiac Care Unit (CCU) nurses and six SAS staff highlighted their positive views of ECG e-transmission, citing perceived benefits to patients and interprofessional relationships. Poor access to network signal was noted to be a barrier to engaging in the system. This study has demonstrated that a specialist triage service based on e-transmission of ECGs in patients with suspected STEMI can be implemented in a diverse geographical setting. Work is needed to ensure equity of the service for all patients.