Prehospital electrocardiograms (ECGs) do not improve the process of emergency department care in hospitals with higher usage of ECGs in non-ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction patients

Michael T. Cudnik, W. Frank Peacock, Deborah B. Diercks, Matthew T. Roe, Anita Y. Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations


Background: This article will describe the impact of prehospital electrocardiogram (ECG) use on emergency department (ED) processes of care for non-ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (NSTEMI) patients and assess the characteristics associatedwith prehospital ECG use. Methods: This is a retrospective, multicenter, observational analysis of NSTEMI patients captured by the National Cardiovascular Data Registry-Acute Coronary Treatment and Intervention Outcomes Network Registry-Get with the Guidelines (NCDR ACTION-GWTG) in 2007. Patient and hospital data were stratified by documentation of a prehospital ECG (pECG). Hospitals were stratified into tertiles of pECG use by higher pECG (>5.6%, n=91), lower pECG (≤5.6%, n=83), or no pECG (n=100). Statistical evaluationwas done via Wilcoxon rank sumand ?2 tests. Results: There were 21 251 patients eligible for analysis. A pECG was documented in 1609 (7.6%) patients. Of 274 hospitals, 100 (36.5%) had no pECGs recorded. Median ED length of stay (LOS) was shorter at no pECG hospitals vs lower pECG hospitals (3.97 h vs 4.12 h, P < 0.05), but not higher pECG hospitals vs no pECG hospitals (3.85 h vs 3.97 h, P = not significant [NS]). A pECG was not associated with an improvement in ED performancemetrics (use of aspirin, β-blocker, any heparin) in the higher pECG hospitals vs no pECG hospitals or the lower pECG hospitals vs no pECG hospitals. Conclusions: Use of prehospital ECG in NSTEMI patients is uncommon. In contrast to its impact on reperfusion times in ST-segment elevationmyocardial infarction(STEMI) patients,its use does not appear to be associated with an improvement in ED processes of care at the hospital level.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)668-675
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Cardiology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2009


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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