, Volume 2, Issue 3, pp 149-154,
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Overcrowding is associated with delays in percutaneous coronary intervention for acute myocardial infarction

Abstract

Background

Recently developed crowding measures, such as the Emergency Department (ED) Work Index (EDWIN) score, provide a quantifiable measurement of overcrowding in the ED.

Aims

We sought to determine the association between overcrowding, measured with the EDWIN score, and the time required to initiate percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) for patients presenting to the ED with acute myocardial infarction (AMI).

Methods

We retrospectively reviewed the performance improvement (PI) data on all patients presenting to the ED over a 2-month period with chest pain and whose subsequent ECG showed AMI requiring PCI. We recorded the time from patient presentation to the (1) time to first ECG, (2) time to patient arrival in the catheterization laboratory, and (3) time to catheter balloon inflation. We calculated EDWIN scores using data archived from our electronic tracking board and compared the proportion of patients who achieved our established ED goal times between patients presenting during low crowding (EDWIN < 1.5) and high crowding (EDWIN ≥ 1.5) conditions.

Results

Seventeen patients underwent emergent PCI in the study period. Patients presenting to the ED during periods of low crowding had shorter times to balloon inflation (median of 84 min, IQR 80 to 93 min) than patients presenting to the ED during periods of high crowding (median of 107 min, IQR 94 to 122 min), P = 0.008. Times to first ECG and to arrival in the catheterization laboratory were not significantly different between patients presenting during low and high crowding conditions.

Conclusion

Overcrowding appears to be associated with a decreased likelihood of timely treatment for acute AMI in our ED.

Abstract presented at the AAEM/JEM Resident Research Forum held at the AAEM 14th Annual Scientific Assembly in Amelia Island, Florida, February, 2008.
No financial support was provided for this study.
The views expressed in this paper are those of the author(s) and not those of the editors, editorial board or publisher.