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ACS Education May Not Reduce Prehospital Delay

Education and counseling fail to decrease hospital arrival time or increase use of EMS

THURSDAY, Oct. 8 (HealthDay News) -- In patients at high risk for acute coronary syndrome (ACS), educational and counseling intervention may not lead to decreased hospital arrival times or increased emergency medical services (EMS) use after the onset of symptoms, according to a study published online Oct. 6 in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

Kathleen Dracup, R.N., of the University of California in San Francisco, and colleagues randomly assigned 3,522 patients with diagnosed coronary heart disease to receive either an intervention consisting of education and counseling about ACS and actions required, or no intervention.

Over a 24-month period, the researchers note that a total of 565 patients (16 percent) were admitted to an emergency department 842 times with ACS symptoms. There were no significant differences between the intervention and no-intervention groups in median prehospital delay times (2.20 and 2.25 hours, respectively) and EMS use (63.6 and 66.9 percent, respectively). However, the researchers found that the intervention group was significantly more likely to take aspirin after symptom onset (22.3 versus 10.1 percent).

"The decision to seek care promptly with the onset of ACS symptoms and use of EMS rather than other modes of transportation continues to be a significant public health challenge," the authors conclude. "Further research is required to determine how best to encourage patients who experience symptoms of ACS to seek care promptly."

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