Hypothetical interventions on emergency ambulance and prehospital acetylsalicylic acid administration in myocardial infarction patients presenting without chest pain

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Background: Myocardial infarction (MI) patients presenting without chest pain are a diagnostic challenge. They receive suboptimal prehospital management and have high mortality. To elucidate potential benefits of improved management, we analysed expected outcome among non-chest pain MI patients if hypothetically they (1) received emergency ambulances/acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) as often as observed for chest pain patients, and (2) all received emergency ambulance/ASA. 

Methods: We sampled calls to emergency and non-emergency medical services for patients hospitalized with MI within 24 h and categorized calls as chest pain/non-chest pain. Outcomes were 30-day mortality and a 1-year combined outcome of re-infarction, heart failure admission, and mortality. Targeted minimum loss-based estimation was used for all statistical analyses. 

Results: Among 5418 calls regarding MI patients, 24% (1309) were recorded with non-chest pain. In total, 90% (3689/4109) of chest pain and 40% (525/1309) of non-chest pain patients received an emergency ambulance, and 73% (2668/3632) and 37% (192/518) of chest pain and non-chest pain patients received prehospital ASA. Providing ambulances to all non-chest pain patients was not associated with improved survival. Prehospital administration of ASA to all emergency ambulance transports of non-chest pain MI patients was expected to reduce 30-day mortality by 5.3% (CI 95%: [1.7%;9%]) from 12.8% to 7.4%. No significant reduction was found for the 1-year combined outcome (2.6% CI 95% [− 2.9%;8.1%]). In comparison, the observed 30-day mortality was 3% among ambulance-transported chest pain MI patients. 

Conclusions: Our study found large differences in the prehospital management of MI patients with and without chest pain. Improved prehospital ASA administration to non-chest pain MI patients could possibly reduce 30-day mortality, but long-term effects appear limited. Non-chest pain MI patients are difficult to identify prehospital and possible unintended effects of ASA might outweigh the potential benefits of improving the prehospital management. Future research should investigate ways to improve the prehospital recognition of MI in the absence of chest pain.

TidsskriftBMC Cardiovascular Disorders
Antal sider13
StatusUdgivet - 2022

Bibliografisk note

Funding Information:
This study was funded by the Danish Heart Foundation (R122-A8403). The Danish heart Foundation had no role in the design of the study, data collection, analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s).

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