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Existing peer-reviewed literature describing emergency medical technician (EMT) acquisition and transmission of 12-lead electrocardiograms (12L-ECGs), in the absence of a paramedic, is largely limited to feasibility studies.
The objective of this retrospective observational study was to describe the impact of EMT-acquired 12L-ECGs in Suffolk County, New York (USA), both in terms of the diagnostic quality of the transmitted 12L-ECGs and the number of prehospital percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI)-center notifications made as a result of transmitted 12L-ECGs demonstrating a ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI).
A pre-existing database was queried for Emergency Medical Services (EMS) calls on which an EMT acquired a 12L-ECG from program initiation (January 2017) through December 31, 2019. Scanned copies of the 12L-ECGs were requested in order to be reviewed by a blinded emergency physician.
Of the 665 calls, 99 had no 12L-ECG available within the database. For 543 (96%) of the available 12L-ECGs, the quality was sufficient to diagnose the presence or absence of a STEMI. Eighteen notifications were made to PCI-centers about a concern for STEMI. The median time spent on scene and transporting to the hospital were 18 and 11 minutes, respectively. The median time from PCI-center notification to EMS arrival at the emergency department (ED) was seven minutes (IQR 5-14).
In the event a cardiac monitor is available, after a limited educational intervention, EMTs are capable of acquiring a diagnostically useful 12L-ECG and transmitting it to a remote medical control physician for interpretation. This allows for prehospital PCI-center activation for a concern of a 12L-ECG with a STEMI, in the event that a paramedic is not available to care for the patient.
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