In order to reduce the delay times from onset of symptoms to arrival in hospital, and increase the use of ambulance in patients with suspected acute myocardial infarction (AMI), a media campaign was initiated in an urban area. An initial 3-week intense campaign was followed by a maintenance phase of 1 year. Delay times and ambulance use during the campaign were compared with the previous 21 months. Among patients admitted to a coronary care unit (CCU) due to suspected AMI, the median delay time was reduced from 3 h to 2 h 40 min and the mean delay time was reduced from 11 h 33 min to 7 h 42 min (P less than 0.001). Among patients with confirmed AMI the median delay time was reduced from 3 h to 2 h 20 min and the mean delay time from 10 h to 6 h 27 min (P less than 0.001). We conclude that a 1-year media campaign can reduce delay times in suspected AMI, and that this effect appears to continue at 1 year, but ambulance use seems to be more difficult to influence.
A media campaign conducted to reduce delay time and to increase the use of ambulance transport in acute myocardial infarction was performed in an urban area with about half a million inhabitants during 1 year. The main message was that chest pain lasting more than 15 minutes might indicate acute myocardial infarction; dial 90,000 immediately for ambulance transport to the hospital. The target population was the general public. After 6 and 12 months 400 and 610 randomly chosen persons, respectively, were contacted by telephone to evaluate the reaction of the general public to the campaign. Of these, 60% and 71%, respectively, had heard of the campaign, and all parts of the message were spontaneously remembered by 15% and 19%, respectively. The reaction to the campaign was generally positive. Among all patients admitted to the coronary care unit of one of the two city hospitals, 65% were aware of the campaign and 31% of them were of the opinion that they came to the hospital faster because of the campaign. In conclusion, a media campaign aimed at reducing patient delay time in acute myocardial infarction was shown to reach a majority of people in the community and patients with ischemic heart disease. The reaction was positive and about one fifth of interviewed people spontaneously remembered the total message.