Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Five hundred patients with myocardial infarction monitored within one hour of symptoms.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1983; 286 doi: (Published 30 April 1983) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1983;286:1405
  1. M O'Doherty,
  2. D I Tayler,
  3. E Quinn,
  4. R Vincent,
  5. D A Chamberlain


    Of 2886 patients monitored during acute myocardial infarction, 500 were observed within one hour of the onset of symptoms. Half of the early admission group were admitted in response to emergency 999 calls and 435 of them travelled in resuscitation ambulances, where surveillance for arrhythmias was instituted. Pulmonary oedema occurred in 130 patients (26%), cardiogenic shock supervened in 60 (12%), and 115 (23%) died in hospital. Ventricular fibrillation was observed in 98 patients (20%). Forty two of them survived to be discharged, including 20 of the 24 with primary fibrillation which had occurred first in hospital. In only one case did primary ventricular fibrillation occur after the first 10 hours of onset of illness. Sinus bradycardia, atrial fibrillation, ventricular tachycardia, and ventricular fibrillation were all observed more frequently in patients admitted within one hour after the onset of symptoms than in those admitted later. An element of selection is inevitable when early admission is encouraged by the existence of a resuscitation ambulance system; this will depend in part on the early recognition of risk and the geographical location of the attack. These factors may bias the group towards relatively high risk. Nevertheless, prompt admission after myocardial infarction should improve survival by permitting successful management both of ventricular fibrillation and of other arrhythmias which may influence short term and long term prognosis.