Barriers to EMS utilization during STEMI
sought to identify novel barriers to EMS use for this population using a unique study design
Misinterpretation of symptoms, which has been previously described as a barrier and targeted in public campaigns, was similar in both EMS users and non-EMS users (55%, 53%). Self-rated severity of symptoms and presence of chest pain were not statistically different between the two groups.
Perception that EMS would take longer than self-transport was evident in 53% of the non-EMS group, and none of the EMS users (p=0.0001), and was the most frequent reason identified for non-EMS use. Perception that EMS was faster was noted in 46% of EMS users and 4% of non-EMS users (p=0.0002) We found that reluctance to be a burden on the health care system or to waste resources was endorsed by 35% of non-EMS users, compared to 3% of EMS users (p=0.0005). Embarrassment about EMS arriving to the office or home was common to both groups (19%, 17%), and was not significantly different. Cost of EMS was not a prominent barrier with only 1 non-user endorsing.