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Posts Tagged ‘how much dealy is good delay’

A patient with  chest pain   is being rushed   into the ER  of  a medium sized cardiac facility in an urban county of India .The fellow briefs the senior consultant cardiologist about the arrival of  this  extensive anterior  STEMI  over phone.  The  consultant  enquires  about the “symptom to door time” and  was little concerned  when the fellow said ” it is only  2 hours sir”  .The fellow was amused with the consultant’s  reaction.

The consultant arrived in 15 minutes  and  began  the all important  discussion with the  patient  and his spouse  .(Meanwhile tablet clopidogrel and Aspirin was  loaded  per orally . Note : Heparin is not given yet )

Cardiologist : It is a  massive heart attack . One of your coronary artery  got  blocked suddenly , I have to remove the block at the earliest . There are  two ways of doing it .  One is fibrinolysis which lyses the clot .It can open up  your vessel  , though incompletely but would prevent myocardial damage  at the earliest .

The other one is PCI ,  which if performed rapidly  will completely  open up the vessel in question , what  we call TIMI 3 flow ,  But it has to be done within one hour.

Patient : Which is better doctor for me ?

Cardiologist : My cath lab  logistics  does not allow me to do a  PCI within the stipulated  time ,   still  I wish  to perform   a primary angioplasty  as i am not a believer  in thrombolysis !

So , even though you are  eligible for both modes of re- perfusion, in the strict sense doing a  PCI  which will  ultimately be  delayed  beyond the recommended time window  is technically contraindicated “

(Please  be notified : Currently , if the delay is during the procedure due to some technical issues after starting the procedure  or if the delay is at  the patient   level in arranging the required finance or insurance clearance it can be condoned without any ethical issues )

Patients spouse : Doctor please save my  husband . You  start  the fibrinolysis  every minute is risky isn’t doctor , and do the PCI once its ready doctor .

No . . . Fibrinolysis  does not combine well with PCI  in fact it will worsen the situation .   Thats what FINNESSE  study says . We can do only one of them . . . not both .

The patient and spouse (Terribly confused  by now )

Cardiologist:  By the way , what is  your insurance limit  sir ?

Patients spouse : Its 4 lakhs

Cardiologist : OK , that should be suffice  90 out of 100 times . Any way keep another lakh ready in case I need IABP.

Patient : My pain is worsening doctor at least relieve  my pain till this debate  is over !

(A patient’s relative  browses his  i phone  and argues  the  cardiologist   to administer streptokinase at the earliest . Suddenly  the patient family lobbies for fibrinolytic mode  empowered by the i phone guy )

One of them shouts “Please doctor you do something either take him inside cath lab or  start a fibrinolyitc therapy ”

How did the cardiologist  fight his way through ? ( He gulps a cup of coffee and  starts a fresh discussion)


Cardiologist : 
I am sorry , you have come too early  for PCI .  Guidelines do not allow me to choose PCI in the first hour  as our  anticipated delay for PCI is more than 3 hours . I wish you arrived after  the 3 hour window .

“Of course you are on time for thrombolysis”  which  unfortunately I am against !

Now, I am going to wait ( You may think it is a waste of time i call it as patient preparation time )  .This waiting period incidentally  allows us to cross  three  hour  time  window ,  then the issue of not lysing  does n’t creep in at all . A PCI done after 3 hours is not a race against time , while a PCI done early is like  a power play in cricket .

I do not know whether this delay which is happening  right now –  Intentional /Unintentional,  Scientific / unscientific reasons  would  damage your heart or not !

Since you have an extensive MI , I earnestly believe  with all my wisdom and knowledge, you will do well with primary PCI  even if  i do it  little late .  Please allow me to violate the standard criteria in the interest of your heart .

Cardiologist : I wonder , if you had arrived little late we wouldn’t be discussing this terrible conversation at all .Your myocardium  will also feel thrilled for getting a better mode of re-perfusion. You put me in an awkward situation by coming early !

Patient : But  . . . doctor every one  tells me ,  one should reach the hospital  after a heart attack  at the earliest  is it not ?   Please believe me doctor ,  I  made  extraordinary  efforts to  arrive early to your hospital , but you have put me on hold doctor !

Cardiologist :I agree  . . . but you won’t understand the modern jargons  in  interventional  cardiology ,  some times (Or is  it many times !) we will be doing the diagonally opposite to what  is   preached  in text books  .  Both intentional and unintentional delays are common  in the emergency cardiac  care . Do not bother about it   . . . science will take care of it !

Patient : You mean  . . . you are going to waste the golden hour in STEMI by simply arranging for cath lab staffs and machinery .

Cardiologist : You got the point right ! Just sit back enjoy the  flight !

Patient : Your wish is my wish doctor . Please handle with care doc !

* Please note this is an imaginary conversation ( Most often happens in silent mode !) in many of the cath labs which do not have 24 hour service. In a country  with  100 crore population like India ,  less than a dozen cathlabs  work round the clock . Guess  how often such a  situation would come in day to  day cardiology practice.



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