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Emergency cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) instruction via telephone (ETCPR) is cost-effective compared to prehospital, emergency medical technician (EMT)/paramedic treatment alone of witnessed, ventricular fibrillation (VF) in adult patients.
A total of 118 patients, age >18 years, with prehospital, witnessed ventricular fibrillation were studied. Patient data were extracted from hospital records, monitor-defibrillator recordings, paramedic reports, dispatching records, and telephone interviews with bystanders. No ETCPR was available during this period. The costs of ETCPR implementation were estimated retrospectively. Marginal cost of the paramedic service attributable to treatment of VF was calculated from fire department records. Years-of-life saved were estimated from age, gender, and race matched norms.
Of the 53 patients receiving bystander CPR (BCPR), 14 (26%) survived to hospital discharge versus 4/65 patients (6%) lacking BCPR, These groups did not differ significantly (p>.05) in age, EMS response times, or time from collapse to defibrillation. The mean time interval from collapse to CPR was significantly less for patients with BCPR (1.8 min) than for patients without BCPR (7.1 min). Had all patients received BCPR and survived at the rate of 0.26, 13 additional patients would have survived to hospital discharge. The cost per year-of-life saved by the EMS system with ETCPR would have been [US]$2,834 versus $4,881 without ETCPR. The cost per additional year-of-life saved by ETCPR was estimated to be $560 in patients experiencing out-of-hospital ventricular fibrillation.
The use of ETCPR instruction of callers by 9-1-1 dispatchers potentially is a cost-effective addition to a two-tier, EMS system for treatment of prehospital ventricular fibrillation.
Emergency physician interpretation of prehospital, paramedic-acquired, electrocardiograms (ECG) is accurate judged by comparison with that of a reference cardiologist.
Twelve-lead ECGs were obtained by paramedics in the field from 150 patients with acute chest pain. The ECGs were transmitted by cellular telephone to a central location. Each ECG was assessed for evidence of acute myocardial infarction (AMI) by: 1) a third-year, emergency medicine resident (EMP-R); 2) a residency-trained, board-certified, emergency physician (EMP-RT); 3) an emergency physician board certified under the practice option (EMP-PT); and 4) a board-certified cardiologist. Agreement between each emergency physician and the cardiologist was assessed by the kappa statistic. Hospital records were reviewed for final diagnosis of each patient.
Sixteen of 150 (10.7%) patients received a hospital discharge diagnosis of AMI. Sensitivity of physician interpretation ranged from 0.31 to 0.56. All physicians achieved specificity of 0.99. False-positive rates for the physicians ranged from 0.18–0.29. The mean positive predictive value for the four physicians was 0.77±0.05; the mean negative predictive value was 0.94±0.01. The total agreements between the EMP-R, EMP-RT, and EMP-PT and the cardiologists were 0.97, 0.96, and 0.97, respectively. Kappa values for agreement between the emergency physicians and the cardiologist ranged from 0.65–0.79.
Residency-trained or board-certified emergency physician interpretations of prehospital, paramedic-acquired 12-lead ECGs show a high degree of agreement with reference cardiologist interpretations.
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