Evidence-based emergency pathways for patients with acute coronary syndrome
Cardo S., Barone AP., Agabiti N., Greco C., Jefferson T., Guasticchi G.
We present an evidence-based diagnostic and therapeutic pathway for the treatment of subjects with suspected acute elevated ST-segment myocardial infarction (STEMI). The pathway was developed to aid the reorganization of the emergency service (ES) of the Lazio Region of Italy. Pathway development followed several phases: a) setting up of a multidisciplinary panel comprising all professional figures involved in the management of STEMI subjects; b) drafting of a list of important research questions with a particular focus on areas of clinical and organization uncertainty; c) systematic searches for relevant international scientific evidence to answer research questions; d) assessment, synthesis and classification of identified evidence according to the quality of evidence; e) formulation of management recommendations by their strength according to the methods used by the national guidelines program; f) presentation of draft findings and recommendations; g) external peer review of the draft document; h) editing the final version of the document. Our document identifies possible action scenarios (community, emergency room, major accident and emergency departments) and the following critical points: 1) quick diagnosis and individual risk definition; 2) rapid transmission of the electrocardiogram and vital parameters to the ES control center or to the competent coronary care unit (CCU) depending on where the event took place; 3) a direct link between the ES control center and the competent CCU; 4) the structuring of the regional CCU into a Hub & Spoke model; 5) electronic communication of data between ambulance, ES control center and the competent CCU. Our document also defines Hub regional reference centers and local Spoke centers. The pathway details roles and responsibilities of all players in the emergency chain for STEMI sufferers and critical points for the delivery of the pathway: regional programs on early warning, functions of relevant ES personnel and of emergency room physicians, efficiency of the electronic network and identification and organization of the regional Hub & Spoke network.