(Call to needle times after acute myocardial infarction in urban and rural areas in northeast Scotland: prospective observational study)
Acute myocardial infarction (death of part of the heart muscle) is most often due to coronary thrombosis (a blood clot). Thrombolytic treatment to try to dissolve the clot is a matter of urgency and, according to the British Heart Foundation (BHF), should be given to patients within 90 minutes of their calling for medical assistance.
In this week's BMJ, Dr John Rawles and colleagues from the University of Aberdeen at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary and Grampian Health Board, report the findings of the study into how best to provide thrombolytic treatment within the BHF guidelines. Their research, involving over 1000 (1046) patients, was undertaken in urban, suburban and rural areas in northeast Scotland.
They found that the first contact that a patient had with a medically qualified person was most commonly with a general practitioner, who was able to administer thrombolytic treatment before the patient was transported to hospital. They conclude that for patients in both urban and rural areas, contact with their GP in the first instance is the optimum means of receiving the essential thrombolytic treatment within 90 minutes.
Contact: Prof Lewis Ritchie, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, Aberdeen