Background: Primary percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) is more effective on average than fibrinolytic therapy (FT) in the treatment of ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI). Yet most U.S. hospitals are not equipped for PCI and FT is still widely used. This study evaluated the comparative effectiveness of STEMI regionalization strategies to increase the use of PCI against standard emergency transport and care. Methods and Results: We estimated incremental treatment costs and quality-adjusted life expectancies of 2,000 patients with STEMI who received PCI or FT in simulations of emergency care in a regional hospital system. To increase access to PCI across the system, we compared a base case strategy to 12 hospital-based strategies of building new PCI labs or extending the hours of existing labs, and one emergency medical services (EMS)-based strategy of transporting all patients with STEMI to existing PCI-capable hospitals. The base case resulted in 609 (569, 647) patients getting PCI. Hospital-based strategies increased the number of patients receiving PCI, the costs of care, and quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) saved, and were cost effective under a variety of conditions. An EMS-based strategy of transporting every patient to an existing PCI facility was less costly and more effective than all hospital expansion options. Conclusion: Our results suggest that new construction and staffing of PCI labs may not be warranted if an EMS strategy is both available and feasible.
Concannon, Thomas W., David M. Kent, Sharon-Lise Normand, Joseph P. Newhouse, John L. Griffith, Joshua Cohen, Joni R. Beshansky, John B. Wong, Thomas Aversano, and Harry P. Selker. "Comparative Effectiveness of STEMI Regionalization Strategies." Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes 3.5 (September 2010): 506-513.