Introduction: The aim of the study was to assess the differences in critical network times and mortality in STEMI patients presenting to hospitals in the same STEMI network, but located at different distances from the pPCI center.
Methods: Four-hundreed sixteen patients with STEMI were studied. Group 1: 101 patients presenting to any of the six regional hospitals in the network located at less than 70 km from the pPCI center, with a maximum transport time of 30 minutes. Group 2: 81 patients presenting to any of the three territorial hospitals in the network located at 70–150 km from the pPCI center, with a transport time between 30 and 70 minutes. Group 3: 93 patients presenting to any of the four territorial hospitals in the network located at 150–250 km from the pPCI center, with a transport time between 70 and 150 minutes. Group 4: 141 patients presenting directly to the emergency room of the pPCI center. The following time intervals were recorded: presentation time (PT), from the onset of symptoms to arrival at the pPCI center; protocol initiation time (PIT), from arrival at the pPCI center to STEMI protocol initiation; ischemic time (IT), from the onset of symptoms to repermeabilisation; door to balloon time (DTB), from arrival in the pPCI center to balloon.
Results: PT showed no significant difference between the groups – 183.08 ± 25.2 minutes vs. 199.1 ± 32.4 minutes vs. 166.7 ± 42.5 minutes vs. 161.91 ± 36.8 minutes, respectively (p=0.4). PIT was significantly lower in Group 3 (61.66 ± 15.4 minutes in Group 3 vs. 92 ± 11.5 minutes in Group 2 vs. 107.4 ± 12.5 minutes in Group 1, p = 0.002). DTB time was significantly longer for patients presenting directly to the pPCI center compared to those arriving from Zone 1, 2 or 3 hospitals, 86.96 ± 11.6 minutes vs. 52.27 ± 11.2 minutes vs. 39.94 ± 10.3 minutes vs. 43.9 ± 5.3 minutes, p <0.001). Despite the differences in distance to the pPCI center, there was no significant difference in total IT between the groups (Group 1, 344.6 ± 53.4 minutes; Group 2, 369.3 ± 42.6 minutes; Group 3, 366.65 ± 36.4 minutes; and 340.2 ± 26.9 minutes in the pPCIcenter, p = 0.2), and this was reflected in similar rates of mortality (Group 1, 3.9%; Group 2, 3.7%; Group 3, 3.2%; and 3.5% in the pPCI center).
Conclusion: A well organized STEMI network can shorten protocol initiation and DTB times, achieving similar ischemic times and resulting in similar mortality rates with the centers located closer to the pPCI center. Early activation of the STEMI protocol could lead to superior results even in areas situated at longer distances from the pPCI center.