Pre-hospital acute coronary syndrome care in Kerala, India: A qualitative analysis

Amisha Patel, P. P. Mohanan, Dorairaj Prabhakaran, Mark D. Huffman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Objective Ischemic heart disease is the leading cause of death in India. Many of these deaths are due to acute coronary syndromes (ACS), which require prompt symptom recognition, care-seeking behavior, and transport to a treatment facility in the critical pre-hospital period. In India, little is known about pre-hospital management of individuals with ACS. We aim to understand the facilitators, barriers, and context of optimal pre-hospital ACS care to provide opportunities to reduce pre-hospital delays and improve acute cardiovascular care. Methods and results We conducted a qualitative study using in-depth interviews and focus group discussions with 27 ACS providers in Kerala, India to understand facilitators, barriers, and context to pre-hospital ACS care. Six themes emerged from these interviews and discussions: (1) individuals with ACS misperceive their symptoms as non-cardiac in origin; (2) emergency medical services are infrequently used; (3) insufficient pre-hospital healthcare infrastructure contributes to pre-hospital delay; (4) multiple stops are made before arriving at a facility that can provide definitive diagnosis and treatment; (5) relatively high costs of treatment and lack of widespread health insurance coverage limits care delivery; and (6) novel mobile technologies may allow for faster diagnosis and initiation of treatment in the pre-hospital setting. Conclusions Individualized patient-based factors (general knowledge of ACS symptoms, socioeconomic position) and broader systems-based factors (ambulance networks, coordination of transport) affect pre-hospital ACS care in Kerala. Improving public awareness of ACS symptoms, increasing appropriate use of emergency medical services, and building a infrastructure for rapid and coordinated transport may improve pre-hospital ACS care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-100
Number of pages8
JournalIndian Heart Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017


  • Acute coronary syndromes
  • Healthcare infrastructure
  • Pre-hospital care
  • Qualitative methods


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