Posts Tagged ‘timi flow in highways’

Acute STEMI is the numero uno of  all medical emergencies. Hundreds of life are lost every few hours in our planet.Significant  chunk of them  do not   even reach the hospital alive  . While the emergency crew has many vital responsibilities , the cardiologist job starts only after the patient reaches the hospital .  Hence  the ambulance  crew  need to act much more sharper. Please remember even the  skills   of the driver  will have a direct impact on the myocyte survival.

The symptom to first  medical ( or second  hospital ) contact could be as vital  as a primary PCI procedure itself . A 3 minute traffic jam can kill 3 thousand myocytes ! One could imagine the importance of  decision making process here.

Distance from  the point of contact to PCI lab , the anticipated delay ,   intensity of traffic  matters .

Is it not funny ,  to realise  when   we  have  a reperfusing agent on hand , within the ambulance and the vehicle stuck in  the traffic jam  waiting to reach a  reperfusion  room situated  50  km down the high way !

( One may wonder why can’t we thrombolyse every one  routinely  in the ambulance  and do  the PCI later in  . . . But surprisingly  this    concept  simply does  not work  !)

When we realise , even in  a well developed country like Netherlands ,  time to shift  to cath lab is a big issue (Read the following article )  we will never ever know , how much of myocardium  is consumed  by traffic jams  in  a  country like India  , where   the traffic   scenarios   can be  more chaotic  than a  VF  !

Events  that unfold following a STEMI  are crucial

It begins with chest pain recognition.

Call for first help Spouse/Family doctor /Neighbor

Call for 911/108 . Ambulance arrival time and boarding

Administration of  Aspirin + clopidogrel*

Meanwhile spontaneous thrombolysis will begin in most of them !

A promptly administered Aspirin and clopidogrel   a shot of heparin and a lytic agent within 30 minutes is distinctly possible and may be more  effective  at a fraction of cost.

Highway thrombolysis

Even though current studies still  . . .do not  favor primary PCI over thrombolyiss in the first hour ,  most of the cardiologist  do show some  favoritism  towards pPCI for some unknown reasons.

So by default ,  many of the   ill fated  STEMI patients    enter  an  unrealistic  hemodynamic   race  in the deadly highways and urban lanes our country !

For every minute  that goes by ,  the patient  not only loses  his  muscle but also the  golden opportunity to get salvaged by the thrombolytic agents .

Since ,  a delay  beyond  one hour eliminates the indication of thrombolysis  (if a cath lab is available in the vicinity  ) many times   traffic delays  convert a potential   hyperacute  thrombolysis  into a say . . .    3-6 hour old  PCI .(Should we feel happy about it ?)

Here , we need to know TIMI 2 flow achieved easily by thrombolytic  agents is  quiet effective in preventing myocyte death.

Fast  track   shift to PCI

Helicopter drop over cath lab -( Distant dream ?  or better to be in dreams )  It has been noticed even a helicopter was squarely beaten by the  thrombolysis  in terms of  early  and  timely  reperfusion.

Fast -Slow track PCI ?  (Like fast slow AVNRT !)

Unexpected delays on  road  , in  many countries  financial issues  /Insurance sanction etc  contribute to the time delay significantly . What starts as a fast track  protocol  peters out  into  slow race (Late primary PCI ) and may even  end  in a grinding halt.(No primary PCI )

Worse still  . . . some of these patients  are made   unsuitable  for  thrombolysis  as well !

Final message

Management of STEMI  is gradually becoming a team effort.  The emergency crew , the command , the destination hospital all need to be  alert  and proactive. When the  initial  anticipated delay  is getting prolonged , get the ground staff  in  cath lab  ready for  an  emergency landing .

A word of  advice  for  the ambulance crew .Involve them  more   in the decision making  as  they   are in a better position to calculate the  possible delay.  If delays  are anticipated  propose a thrombolytic order and get clearance from the command and administer the lytic agent as early as possible.

It is highly likely , restoration of   TIMI   2  flow  right in the middle of   national highways  is much  . . .   better than a   TIMI 3 flow  that  is going to come  later   . . .in  a distant  cath lab .

Finally use the common sense  liberally  before you  act   . . . unfortunately it has become  the most elusive  sense for man kind  !

References :

Here is a study that gives a fresh insight into this  enigmatic issue of pre-hospital thrombolysis vs primary PCI


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