According to a report by Jornal de Notícias, the new chest pain protocol is now in effect and technicians from all emergency medical ambulances in the country can put in place a set of procedures to receive training, which includes performing an electrocardiogram (ECG) and administering drugs, under medical guidance, to a patient with suspected acute myocardial infarction.
Speaking to Lusa, the president of the National Institute of Medical Emergency (INEM) stated that this was a priority of the institute, "not only to provide emergency medical ambulances with this equipment", but above all to be able to move forward with the implementation of the protocol of chest pain that will effectively allow health gains.
It will also allow for "a significant improvement" in the working conditions of pre-hospital emergency technicians (TEPH), since they now have equipment that "will greatly facilitate their mission, as it incorporates several capabilities".
“In addition to the ability to perform electrocardiograms (ECG), they have the possibility of having, in the same device, a vital signs monitor”, which will greatly facilitate the monitoring of patients, in addition to automatic external defibrillation.
But, he stressed, "the clear objective is always to ensure that pre-hospital medical care is provided under the best possible conditions, especially from the perspective of accident and sudden illness victims", with a very particular focus on acute myocardial infarction.
"It is a serious situation and needs to be identified as early as possible to allow the proper referral of these patients", defended the president of INEM, recalling that acute myocardial infarction kills about 8,000 Portuguese a year and that cardiovascular diseases are one of the main causes of mortality in Portugal.
Therefore, being able to make the diagnosis as quickly as possible and to be able to refer the patient immediately to the most appropriate place for treatment is essential in reducing mortality.
Luís Meira estimates that technicians perform between 10 and 20 electrocardiograms a day, with the support of equipment that has been placed in all emergency medical ambulances.