Research Article

Time delays in provision of thrombolytic treatment in six district hospitals. Joint Audit Committee of the British Cardiac Society and a Cardiology Committee of Royal College of Physicians of London.

BMJ 1992; 305 doi: (Published 22 August 1992) Cite this as: BMJ 1992;305:445
  1. J. S. Birkhead
  1. Department of Medicine, Northampton General Hospital.


    OBJECTIVE--To measure the delays between onset of symptoms and admission to hospital and provision of thrombolysis in patients with possible acute myocardial infarction. DESIGN--Observational study of patients admitted with suspected myocardial infarction during six months. SETTING--Six district general hospitals in Britain. SUBJECTS--1934 patients admitted with suspected myocardial infarction. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES--Route of admission to hospital and time to admission and thrombolysis. RESULTS--Patients who made emergency calls did so sooner after onset of symptoms than those who called their doctor (median time 40 (95% confidence interval 30 to 52) minutes v 70 (60 to 90) minutes). General practitioners took a median of 20 (20 to 25) minutes to visit patients, rising to 30 (20 to 30) minutes during 0800-1200. The median time from call to arrival in hospital was 41 (38 to 47) minutes for patients who called an ambulance from home and 90 (90 to 94) minutes for those who contacted their doctor. The median time from arrival at hospital to thrombolysis was 80 (75 to 85) minutes for patients who were treated in the cardiac care unit and 31 (25 to 35) minutes for those treated in the accident and emergency department. CONCLUSION--The time from onset of symptoms to thrombolysis could be reduced substantially by more effective use of emergency services and faster provision of thrombolysis in accident and emergency departments.