Data on the use of emergency medical services (EMS) by patients with cardiac conditions in the Gulf region are scarce, and prior studies have suggested underutilization. Patient perception and knowledge of EMS care is critical to proper utilization of such services.
To estimate utilization, knowledge, and perceptions of EMS among patients with ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.
We conducted a multicenter prospective study of consecutive patients admitted with STEMI in four government-operated hospitals in Abu Dhabi. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with patients to assess the rationale for choosing their prehospital mode of transport and their knowledge of EMS services.
Of 587 patients with STEMI (age 51 ± 11 years, male 95%), only 15% presented through EMS, and the remainder came via private transport. Over half of the participants (55%) stated that they did not know the telephone number for EMS. The most common reasons stated for not using EMS were that private transport was quicker (40%) or easier (11%). A small percentage of participants (7%) did not use EMS because they did not think their symptoms were cardiac-related or warranted an EMS call. Stated reasons for not using EMS did not significantly differ by age, gender, or primary language of the patients.
EMS care for STEMI is grossly underutilized in Abu Dhabi. Patient knowledge and perceptions may contribute to under utilization, and public education efforts are needed to raise their perception and knowledge of EMS.||en_US