Acute myocardial infarction complicated by hemodynamically unstable bradyarrhythmia: Prehospital and ED treatment with atropine

Gary Swart, William J. Brady, Daniel J. DeBehnke, O. John Ma, Tom P. Aufderheide

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

21 Scopus citations

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate the therapeutic response to atropine of patients experiencing hemodynamically compromising bradyarrhythmia related to acute myocardial infarction (AMI) in the prehospital (PH) setting and the therapeutic impact of the PH response to atropine on further Emergency Department (ED) care. In addition, the prevalence of AMI in patients presenting with atrioventricular block (AVB) is noted. Retrospective review of PH, emergency department (ED), and hospital records. PH patients, with hemodynamically compromising bradycardia or AVB with evidence of spontaneous circulation, who received atropine as delivered by emergency medical services (EMS) personnel, were used. Urban/suburban fire department-based emergency medical services (EMS) system with on-line medical control serving a population of approximately 1.6 million persons. Hemodynamic instability was defined as the presence of any of the following: ischemic chest pain, dyspnea, syncope, altered mental status, and systolic blood pressure less than 90 mm Hg. Bradycardia was defined as sinus bradycardia, junctional bradycardia, or idioventricular bradycardia (grouped as bradycardia), whereas AVB included first-, second- (types I and II), or third-degree (grouped as AVB). The response that occurred within 1 minute of atropine dosing was recorded as none, partial, complete, or adverse. Comparisons were made between patients with AMI and non-AMI hospital discharge diagnoses. The diagnosis of AMI was confirmed by abnormal elevations in creatinine phosphokinase MB fraction. One hundred seventy-two patients meeting entry criteria were identified. Of these, 131 (76.1%) had complete PH, ED, and hospital records and were used for data analysis. Forty- five patients (34.3%) had a primary hospital discharge diagnosis of AMI; the remaining patients had a non-AMI discharge diagnosis. AMI patients were significantly younger (67 ± 12 v 73 ± 13 years, P = .025), were less likely to have a history of heart disease (35.5% v54.7%, P = .038), and were more likely to present with chest pain (68.9% v24.4%, P < .001) or hypotension (60% v37.2%, P = .013) compared with non-AMI patients. Forty-five of 131 patients presented with AVB, of which 25 had a hospital discharge diagnosis of AMI (55.6%). The mean time from first dose of atropine to ED arrival and the total dose of atropine received in the PH setting did not differ between AMI and non-AMI groups (15.2 ± 7.7 v16.2 ± 8.7 minutes, P = .5; and 0.9 ± 0.49 v1.0 ± 0.58 mg, P = .25). The likelihood of achieving normal sinus rhythm in the PH setting did not differ between AMI and non-AMI groups (40% v 18.6%, P = .07). No differences were found between AMI and non-AMI groups in the amount of additional atropine given (1.2 ± 0.58 v 1.3 ± 1.1 mg, P = .58) or the use of other resuscitative therapies after ED arrival (isoproterenol, 13.3% v12.8%, P = .93; dopamine, 28.9% v26.7% P = .79; transcutaneous pacing, 26.7% v 26.7%, P = .99; transvenous pacing, 8.9% v5.8%, P = .51), with the exception of thrombolytic therapy (24.4% v 0%, P < .001) and cardiac catheterization (22.2% v 3.4%, P = .001). Despite a lack of significant difference in achieving a normal sinus rhythm in the prehospital or ED setting, AMI patients were more likely to achieve a normal sinus rhythm over the total course of PH and ED care than non-AMI patients (44.4% v 24.4%, P = .019). Hemodynamically unstable (by ACLS criterion) AVB presenting in the PH setting is associated with a hospital diagnosis of AMI in most (55.6%) patients in this study. AMI patients with hemodynamically unstable AVB or bradycardia are no more likely to respond to atropine therapy in the PH setting than patients with non-AMI hospital diagnoses. Finally, although there is no difference in the treatment of compromising AVB or bradycardia received by AMI versus non-AMI patients in the PH or ED setting, AMI patients are more likely to achieve a normal sinus rhythm over the total course of care than non-AMI patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)647-652
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Emergency Medicine
Volume17
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1999

Keywords

  • Acute myocardial infarction
  • Atrioventricular block
  • Atropine
  • Bradycardia
  • Emergency department
  • Out-of-hospital
  • Resuscitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine

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