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Global warming and more intense heat wave periods impact health. Heat illness during heat waves has not been studied in the prehospital setting of a low- and middle-income country (LMIC). Early intervention in the community and in the prehospital setting can improve outcomes. Hence, this paper aims to describe the characteristics of heat illness patients utilizing the ambulance service in Telangana state, India with the aim of optimizing public prevention and first aid strategies and prehospital response to this growing problem.
This retrospective observational study reviewed patients presenting to Telangana’s prehospital emergency care system with heat illness symptoms during the heat wave period from March through June in 2018 and 2019. Descriptive analysis was done on the prehospital, dispatch, and environmental data looking at the patients’ characteristics and prehospital intervention.
There were 295 cases in 2018 and 230 cases in 2019 from March-June. The overall incidence of calls with heat illness symptoms was 1.5 cases per 100,000 people. The Scheduled Tribes (ST) had the highest incidence of 4.5 per 100,000 people. Over 96% were from the white income group (below poverty line) while two percent were from the pink income group (above poverty line). From geospatial mapping of the cases, the highest incidence of calls came from the rural, tribal areas. However, the time to response in rural areas was longer than that in an urban area. Males with an average age of 47 were more likely to be affected. The three most common symptoms recorded by the first responders were vomiting (44.4%), general weakness (28.7%), and diarrhea (15.9%). The three most common medical interventions on scene were oxygen therapy (35.1%), oral rehydration salt (ORS) solution administration (26.9%), and intravenous fluid administration (27.0%), with cold sponging infrequently mentioned.
This descriptive study provides a snapshot of the regions and groups of people most affected by heat illness during heat waves and the heterogeneous symptom presentation and challenges with management in the prehospital setting. These data may aid planning of prehospital resources and preparation of community first responders during heat wave periods.
Early reperfusion therapy in the treatment of ST segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) patients can improve outcomes. Silent myocardial infarction is associated with poor prognosis, but little is known about its effect on treatment delays. We aimed to characterize STEMI patients presenting without complaints of pain to the emergency departments (EDs) in Singapore.
Retrospective data were requested from the Singapore Myocardial Infarction Registry (SMIR), a national level registry in Singapore. Painless STEMI was defined as the absence of pain (chest, back, shoulder, jaw, and epigastric pain) during ED presentation. The primary outcome was door-to-balloon (D2B) time, defined as the earliest time a patient arrived in the ED to balloon inflation. Secondary outcomes were 1-month and 1-year mortality and occurrence of adverse events.
From January 2010 to December 2012, the SMIR collected 6412 cases; 10.9% of patients presented without any pain. These patients were older (median age =75 v. 58 years old), more likely to be females (39.9% v. 16.1%), Chinese (74.9% v. 62.7%), obese (median body mass index [BMI] =24.5 v. 22.1), and with history of hypertension (71.1% v. 54.6%), diabetes mellitus (48.6% v. 37.0%), and acute myocardial infarction (20.0% v. 12.3%). They had a longer median D2B (80.5 v. 63 minutes, p<0.001) and a higher occurrence of 30-day (38.4% v. 5.7%) and 1-year mortality rates (47.3% v. 8.5%).
A small proportion of STEMI patients presented without any pain to the ED. They tended to have a higher D2B and risks of mortality. Targeted effort is required to improve diagnostic and treatment efficiency in this group.
The new Vancouver Chest Pain (VCP) Rule recommends early discharge for chest pain patients who are at low risk of developing acute coronary syndrome (ACS), and thus can be discharged within 2 hours of arrival at the emergency department (ED). This study aimed to assess the performance of the new VCP Rule for Asian patients presenting with chest pain at the ED.
This prospective cohort study involved patients attended to at the ED of a large urban centre. Patients of at least 25 years old, presenting with stable chest pain and a non-diagnostic ECG, and with no history of active coronary artery disease were included in the study. The main outcome measures were cardiac events, angioplasty, or coronary artery bypass within 30 days of enrolment.
The study included 1690 patients from 27 August 2000 to 1 May 2002, with 661 patients fulfilling the VCP criteria. Of those for early discharge, 24 had cardiac events and 13 had angioplasty or bypass at 30 days, compared to 91 and 41, respectively, for those unsuitable for discharge. This gave the rule a sensitivity of 78.1% for cardiac events, including angioplasty and bypass. Specificity was 41.0%, and negative predictive value (NPV) was 94.4%.
We found the new VCP Rule to have moderate sensitivity and poor specificity for adverse cardiac events in our population. With an NPV of less than 100%, this means that a small proportion of patients sent home with early discharge would still have adverse cardiac events.