The availability of prior ECGs improves paramedic accuracy in recognizing ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction

Daniel O'Donnell, Mike Mancera, Eric Savory, Shawn Christopher, Jason Schaffer, Steve Roumpf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

Introduction Early and accurate identification of ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) by prehospital providers has been shown to significantly improve door to balloon times and improve patient outcomes. Previous studies have shown that paramedic accuracy in reading 12 lead ECGs can range from 86% to 94%. However, recent studies have demonstrated that accuracy diminishes for the more uncommon STEMI presentations (e.g. lateral). Unlike hospital physicians, paramedics rarely have the ability to review previous ECGs for comparison. Whether or not a prior ECG can improve paramedic accuracy is not known. Study hypothesis The availability of prior ECGs improves paramedic accuracy in ECG interpretation. Methods 130 paramedics were given a single clinical scenario. Then they were randomly assigned 12 computerized prehospital ECGs, 6 with and 6 without an accompanying prior ECG. All ECGs were obtained from a local STEMI registry. For each ECG paramedics were asked to determine whether or not there was a STEMI and to rate their confidence in their interpretation. To determine if the old ECGs improved accuracy we used a mixed effects logistic regression model to calculate p-values between the control and intervention. Results The addition of a previous ECG improved the accuracy of identifying STEMIs from 75.5% to 80.5% (p = 0.015). A previous ECG also increased paramedic confidence in their interpretation (p = 0.011). Conclusions The availability of previous ECGs improves paramedic accuracy and enhances their confidence in interpreting STEMIs. Further studies are needed to evaluate this impact in a clinical setting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)93-98
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Electrocardiology
Volume48
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

Keywords

  • Allied Health personnel
  • Electrocardiography
  • Emergency medical services
  • Myocardial infarction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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