Fallacy of Median Door-to-ECG Time: Hidden Opportunities for STEMI Screening Improvement

Maame Yaa A.B. Yiadom, Wu Gong, Brian W. Patterson, Christopher W. Baugh, Angela M. Mills, Nicholas Gavin, Seth R. Podolsky, Gilberto Salazar, Bryn E. Mumma, Mary Tanski, Kelsea Hadley, Caitlin Azzo, Stephen C. Dorner, Alexander Ulintz, Dandan Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) guidelines recommend screening arriving emergency department (ED) patients for an early ECG in those with symptoms concerning for myocardial ischemia. Process measures target median door-to-ECG (D2E) time of 10 minutes. METHODS AND RESULTS: This 3-year descriptive retrospective cohort study, including 676 ED-diagnosed patients with STEMI from 10 geographically diverse facilities across the United States, examines an alternative approach to quantifying per-formance: proportion of patients meeting the goal of D2E≤10 minutes. We also identified characteristics associated with D2E>10 minutes and estimated the proportion of patients with screening ECG occurring during intake, triage, and main ED care periods. We found overall median D2E was 7 minutes (IQR:4–16; range: 0–1407 minutes; range of ED medians: 5–11 min-utes). Proportion of patients with D2E>10 minutes was 37.9% (ED range: 21.5%– 57.1%). Patients with D2E>10 minutes, compared to those with D2E≤10 minutes, were more likely female (32.8% versus 22.6%, P=0.005), Black (23.4% versus 12.4%, P=0.005), non-English speaking (24.6% versus 19.5%, P=0.032), diabetic (40.2% versus 30.2%, P=0.010), and less frequently reported chest pain (63.3% versus 87.4%, P<0.001). ECGs were performed during ED intake in 62.1% of visits, ED triage in 25.3%, and main ED care in 12.6%. CONCLUSIONS: Examining D2E>10 minutes can identify opportunities to improve care for more ED patients with STEMI. Our findings suggest sex, race, language, and diabetes are associated with STEMI diagnostic delays. Moving the acquisition of ECGs completed during triage to intake could achieve the D2E≤10 minutes goal for 87.4% of ED patients with STEMI. Sophisticated screening, accounting for differential risk and diversity in STEMI presentations, may further improve timely detection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere024067
JournalJournal of the American Heart Association
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 3 2022


  • emergency medicine
  • guidelines
  • myocardial infarction
  • screening
  • timely care
  • triage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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