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Paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) is a common dysrhythmia treated in the prehospital setting. Emergency medical service (EMS) agencies typically require patients treated for SVT to be transported to the hospital. This retrospective cohort study evaluated the impact, paramedic adherence, and patient re-presentation rates of a treat-and-release (T+R) protocol for uncomplicated SVT.
Data were linked from the Alberta Health Services EMS electronic patient care record (EPCR) database for the City of Calgary to the Regional Emergency Department Information System (REDIS). All SVT patients treated by EMS between September 1, 2010, and September 30, 2012, were identified. Databases were queried to identify re-presentations to EMS or an emergency department (ED) within 72 hours of T+R.
There were 229 confirmed SVT patient encounters, including 75 T+R events. Of these 75 T+R events, 10 (13%, 95% confidence interval [CI] [7.4, 23]) led to an EMS re-presentation within 72 hours, and 4 (5%, 95% CI [2.1, 13]) led to an ED. All re-presentations were attributed to a single individual. After excluding 15 records that were incomplete due to limitations in the EPCR platform, 43 of 60 (72%) T+R encounters met all protocol criteria for T+R.
The T+R protocol evaluated in this study applied to a significant proportion of patients presenting to EMS with SVT. Risk of re-presentation following T+R was low, and paramedic protocol adherence was reasonable. T+R appears to be a viable option for uncomplicated SVT in the prehospital setting.
This study forms the first phase in the development of the Canadian National EMS Research Agenda. The purpose was to understand the current state of emergency medical services (EMS) research through the barriers and opportunities perceived by key stakeholders in the Canadian system and to identify the recommendations this group had for moving forward.
This qualitative study was conducted in the spring of 2011 using one-on-one semistructured telephone interviews. Purposeful sampling was used to recruit a cross section of EMS research stakeholders, representing a breadth of geographic regions and roles. Data were collected until thematic saturation was reached. A constant comparative approach was used to develop a basic coding framework and identify emerging themes.
Twenty stakeholders were invited to participate, and saturation was reached after 13 interviews. Thematic saturation was used to ensure that the findings were grounded in the data. Four major themes were identified: 1) the need for additional research education within EMS; 2) the importance of creating an infrastructure to support pan-Canadian research collaboration; 3) addressing the complexities of involving EMS providers in research; and 4) considerations for a national research agenda.
This hypothesis-generating study reveals key areas regarding EMS research in Canada and through the guidance it provides is a first step in the development of a comprehensive national research agenda. Our intention is to collate the identified themes with the results of a larger roundtable discussion and Delphi survey and, in doing so, guide development of a Canadian national EMS research agenda.
Research is essential for the development of evidence-based emergency medical services (EMS) systems of care. When resources are scarce and gaps in evidence are large, a national agenda may inform the growth of EMS research in Canada. This mixed methods consensus study explores current barriers and existing strengths within Canadian EMS research, provides recommendations, and suggests EMS topics for future study.
Purposeful sampling was employed to invite EMS research stakeholders from various roles across the country. Study phases consisted of 1) baseline interviews of a subsample, 2) roundtable discussion, and 3) an online Delphi survey, in which participants scored each statement for importance. Consensus was defined a priori and met if 80% scored a statement as “important” or “very important.”
Fifty-three stakeholders participated, representing researchers (37.7%), EMS administrators (24.6%), clinicians/ providers (20.7%), and educators (17.0%). Participation rates were as follows: interviews, 13 of 13 (100%); roundtable, 47 of 53 (89%); survey round 1, 50 of 53 (94%); survey round 2, 47 of 53 (89%); and survey round 3, 40 of 53 (75%). A total of 141 statements were identified as important: 20 barriers, 54 strengths/opportunities, 31 recommendations, and 36 suggested topics for future research. Like statements were synthesized, resulting in barriers (n 5 10), strengths/opportunities (n 5 24), and recommendations (n 5 19), which were categorized as time, opportunities, and funding; education and mentorship; culture of research and collaboration; structure, process, and outcome of research; EMS and paramedic practice; and the future of the EMS Research Agenda.
Consensus-based key messages from this agenda should be considered when designing, funding, and publishing EMS research and will advance EMS research locally, regionally, and nationally.
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