Expert members of the Acute Cardiovascular Care Association (ACCA) of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) have created a pioneering pocket-sized manual on acute cardiac conditions in their bid to improve heart attack survival rates. The toolkit is designed for first aid teams across Europe and will assist the decision making process in the valuable seconds following a heart attack.
Dr Ervigio Corral Torres, Subdirector General of SAMUR - Protección Civil, the ambulance service in Madrid, Spain, welcomed the ACCA manual as it will help ambulance doctors in their initial treatment approach. He specifically liked the booklet’s small size, allowing it to be carried in a pocket and referred to very quickly. With treatment protocols visually presented in very clear diagrams and tables, Dr Torres confirmed that healthcare providers can identify the path their patient needs to follow right away. He went on to announce that ambulance doctors in his service will be using the tool on a daily basis, enabling them to improve the chances of survival for patients suffering from acute cardiac problems.
President Elect of ACCA and Editor in Chief of the toolkit Professor Héctor Bueno explained that until now there had not been any practical guidance to help ambulance doctors called out to attend emergency heart problems. These healthcare providers are not cardiologists, yet they are required to make life or death decisions in seconds and Professor Bueno was confident that the new ACCA manual will provide them with a most valuable tool in their initial emergency assessment.
Based on ESC Clinical Practice Guidelines and consisting of seven chapters, the booklet was written by European experts and opinion leaders in the field of acute cardiovascular care. Key symptoms covered include chest pain, dyspnea, syncope, acute coronary syndromes, acute heart failure, cardiac arrest and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), rhythm disturbances, acute vascular syndromes, and acute myocardial/pericardial syndromes.
Acknowledging the differences in standards of care in the treatment of emergency heart problems across Europe, Professor Bueno said that the toolkit aims to improve the quality of care these patients receive by helping ambulance doctors make the best decisions in the acute phase, regardless of their location in Europe.
The printed version of the Acute Cardiovascular Care Association Clinical Decision-Making Toolkit toolkit was launched at ACCA’s annual meeting with a mobile application set to be available in Spring 2014. It is now being distributed free of charge to 20 000 emergency cardiac care practitioners across Europe and can be obtained online at the European Society of Cardiology’s website.