Reducing call-to-needle times: the critical role of pre-hospital thrombolysis

J A L Smith, K P Jennings, E A Anderson, P Green, G S Hillis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Current guidelines recommend that patients with acute myocardial infarction should receive thrombolysis within 60 min of seeking professional help.

AIM: To compare current rates of pre-hospital thrombolysis in Grampian with historical data, and assess the effect of pre-hospital thrombolysis on the proportion of patients achieving 'call-to-needle' times within national guidelines.

DESIGN: Prospective audit.

METHODS: Data were collected on all patients (n=535) admitted to the coronary care unit and thrombolysed, either in hospital or in the community from July 2000 to June 2002, using standardized forms.

RESULTS: One hundred and thirty-three patients (25%) received pre-hospital thrombolysis and 402 (75%) received in-hospital thrombolysis. This compares with a 19% (195/1046) pre-hospital thrombolysis rate in the mid-1990s (p=0.005). Median 'call-to-needle' times were 45 min for pre-hospital thrombolysis and 105 min for patients who received in-hospital thrombolysis (p < 0.001). Only 24% (96/396) of patients receiving in-hospital thrombolysis were treated within the recommended guideline, vs. 79% (88/111) of pre-hospital thrombolysis patients (p <0.001).

DISCUSSION: Pre-hospital thrombolysis rates in Grampian are increasing. Administration of thrombolysis in the community greatly increases the proportion of patients achieving a 'call-to-needle' time of 60 min, with a median time saving of approximately 1 h.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)655-61
Number of pages7
JournalQ J M : an international journal of medicine
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2004
Externally publishedYes


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