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European Society of Cardiology

Clinical Articles, News & Views

Saving time, saving lives

Patients with severe chest pain should call the emergency number immediately, as pre-hospital care is essential to survival, according to research presented at Acute Cardiac Care 2012, the first annual meeting of the newly launched Acute Cardiovascular Care Association (ACCA), held recently in Istanbul.

Cardiologists present agreed that it has not been possible to optimise the treatment of patients experiencing a heart attack everywhere, and that there is still room for improvement in the pre-hospital phase in:

  • reducing time delays
  • getting patients to the right hospital where they can receive the best treatment
  • educating the public (especially women) on the symptoms of a heart attack
  • training ambulance staff and harmonising treatment standards.

“The key message is that time saves lives,” said ACCA Board member Professor Tom Quinn. “In cardiac emergencies, such as a heart attack, calling an ambulance immediately ensures the patient gets prompt medical care. Calling for help early results in early diagnosis and doctors and nurses can decide on the best treatment. Most of these treatments are highly time-dependent, so the sooner you get into the system, the better your chances of surviving”.

“The most important part here is early recognition followed by early call for help. This applies to patients with severe chest pain, sudden severe breathlessness as to those who fall unconscious,” Prof Quinn continued.

“What we learnt from this meeting is that, despite advances in the treatment of acute cardiac disease, there is still a huge need for educational sessions which take individual patients into account,” said Professor Peter Clemmensen, President of the ACCA. “Our most popular sessions have been those where delegates can discuss complex patient cases they have faced in daily practice, with faculty.”

The ACC Congress 2012 attracted 1,365 participants with 156 new members signing up during the event.

Published on: November 15, 2012

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