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The benefits of conducting a ECG

Submitted by EMS1 Staff

The prehospital 12-lead can be a powerful tool when deciding treatment options for your patient. And while there has been some debate regarding the effectiveness and implementation of this procedure outside of the hospital, the prehospital EKG can be crucial to your patient’s survival …if you choose to use it.

Early recognition and assessment of acute myocardial infarctions is crucial to patient survival. A thorough assessment is critical to the appropriate care of your patient. And, as you know, acute coronary systems can be hidden due to a number of factors including gender and diabetes. Always search beyond the typical signs and symptoms (elderly, smoker, previous history, typical chest pain, etc).

There are many benefits to doing a prehospital EKG. According to studies, failure to conduct a 12-lead EKG was significantly associated with increased odds of patients not receiving necessary treatment and drugs (Bair). Door-to-needle time is reduced. And more importantly, an EKG may potentially provide the deciding factor to divert transport to the appropriate facilities with a cath lab team.

Conducting an EKG in the field when appropriate is a primary step in increasing your AMI patient’s survival, and leads to a clearer, gained understanding of what is actually happening to the patient's heart.


Bair, Aaron. Failure to Identify High-Risk ECG Findings in AMI Patients. Journal Watch Emergency Medicine. November 9, 2006.

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