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The impact of emergency medical services in acute heart failure

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Title: The impact of emergency medical services in acute heart failure
Author(s): Harjola, Pia
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Medicine
Discipline: CardiologyEmergency Medicine
Language: English
Acceptance year: 2016
Background: Real-life data on the role of emergency medical services (EMS) in acute heart failure (AHF) are scarce. Our aim was to describe prehospital treatment of AHF and to compare patients using EMS with self-presented, non-EMS patients. Methods: Data were collected retrospectively from three university hospitals in Helsinki metropolitan area between July 1 2012 and July 31 2013. According to the use of EMS, patients were divided into EMS and non-EMS groups. Results: The study included 873 AHF patients. One hundred were (11.5%) EMS and 773 (88.5%) non-EMS. EMS patients tended to have more comorbidities. Initial heart rate (HR) and peripheral oxygen saturation (SpO2) differed between EMS and non-EMS patients; mean HR 89.2 (SD 22.5) vs. 83.7 (21.5) /min (p=0.02) and SpO2 90.3 (8.6) vs. 92.9 (6.6)% (p=0.01). However, on presentation to ED EMS patients' vital signs were similar to non-EMS patients'. On presentation to ED 46.0% were normotensive and 68.2% "warm and wet". Thirty-four percentage of EMS patients received prehospital medication. In-hospital mortality was 6.0% and 7.1% (p=0.84) and length of stay (LOS) 7.7 (7.0) and 8.5 (7.9) days (p= 0.36) in EMS and non-EMS groups. Conclusion: The use of EMS and administration of prehospital medication was low. EMS patients had initially worse HR and SpO2 than non-EMS patients. However, EMS patients' signs improved and were similar on presentation to ED. There was no difference in in-hospital mortality and LOS. This underscores the need for equal attention to any AHF patient independent of the arrival mode.
Keyword(s): Acute heart failure emergency medical services prehospital management emergency department

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