What is the role of prehospital 12-lead ECG in thrombolytic therapy screening?

Updated: Aug 04, 2021
  • Author: Wanda L Rivera-Bou, MD, FAAEM, FACEP; Chief Editor: Erik D Schraga, MD  more...
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Currently, prehospital 12-lead electrocardiography (ECG) programs have been recommended for urban and rural emergency medical services (EMS) systems. Medical literature supports this recommendation because of its benefits with respect to early diagnosis and earlier treatment. [72, 16] Several studies have documented the ability of trained prehospital professionals to identify ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) with 12-lead ECGs. [73, 74]

Paramedics can provide advance notification to the receiving facility when they encounter an acute coronary syndrome, and being able to provide a 12-lead ECG of such patients allows the institution to prepare for reperfusion strategies. It is also recommended that EMS personnel start screening for possible thrombolytic therapy in patients who may be having a STEMI in order to further decrease the time for reperfusion.

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