Authors say pandemic-related issues, including staffing, pose challenges
By Lori Solomon HealthDay Reporter
FRIDAY, Oct. 13, 2023 (HealthDay News) — Challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic are creating longer door-to-balloon (D2B) times for heart attack patients, according to a study presented at the annual American College of Cardiology Quality Summit 2023, held from Oct. 11 to 13 in Orlando, Florida.
Sara Belajonas, M.S.N., from the Ocean University Medical Center in Brick Township, New Jersey, and colleagues reviewed all aspects of the D2B process as part of a process improvement initiative to reach the goal of 60 minutes. During quarter 1 2022, D2B time was 73 minutes, or approximately in the 10th percentile nationally. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the medical center averaged around 60 minutes for approximately two years.
The researchers reported that the review process identified that patients were spending too much time in the emergency room for an assortment of reasons that affected patient throughput. Furthermore, not all patients with ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) brought in by advanced life support units were preactivated. Re-education of the multidisciplinary team (including for preactivation and STEMI prep), time interval drill-down of all STEMI cases, annual drills, and collaboration with emergency medical services (EMS) were all implemented. The medical center reached its 60-minute goal in August 2023.
“I absolutely think other [health care] facilities face similar issues,” Belajonas said in a statement. “One major issue arising from the COVID pandemic is national nursing and EMS shortages. These shortages hinder D2B and EMS to balloon times.”
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