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Simple new test that could ease pressure on A&E.

Byline: CLAIRE HARRISON News Reporter

PARAMEDICS will be carrying out innovative checks on heart patients in Coventry and Warwickshire which could slash the need for A&E admissions.

West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) is piloting a new scheme that could result in thousands fewer patients with heart complaints being taken to hospital and instead being treated at home.

It will pave the way for paramedics, who are called out to patients suffering from chest pains, being able to take blood samples on the scene and then use the information to work out the best course of treatment.

The test could see far fewer patients being taken to hospital.

Consultant Paramedic Matt Ward said: "Chest pain is the second most common reason why people call 999.

"However, it doesn't always mean the patient is having a heart attack; the symptoms are often similar for non-cardiac conditions.

"What this trial is aiming to do is to allow paramedics to carry out a test at scene which would allow them to know which are which.

"If the research is positive it could result in ambulance staff being able to provide reassurance much sooner to patients with chest pain while also reducing the number of patients ambulance crews take to A&E departments."

As part of the trial, titled PRESTO (the Prehospital Evaluation of Sensitive Troponin), WMAS will work with Warwick Hospital and University For patients willing to take part, they will continue to get exactly the same treatment as they do now except for the paramedic taking a small vial of blood at the scene.

West Midlands Ambulance Service is working with three other ambulance services in the trial which is led by the University of Manchester and Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust and is funded by the National Institute for Health Research.

In total, it is hoped 100 patients will take part locally; 700 nationally. Researchers have already developed a system called the 'Troponinonly Manchester Acute Coronary Syndromes, known as a (T-MACS) decision aid', to avoid unnecessary hospital admissions from A&E and enable earlier specialist treatment to those that need it.

Over a third of all patients having the test did not need to be admitted to hospital and the PRESTO study is now assessing whether this decision aid is suitable for use before patients are taken to hospital.

Imogen Gunson, WMAS research paramedic, added: "If the trial is successful it could be possible to provide all ambulances with a portable blood testing device which would allow ambulance staff to run these important tests without patients having to be taken to the hospital. The impact would be huge; clinicians would be able to make more informed decisions about the best patient care with more in-depth tests at the patient's side at scene.

"As well as providing those patients with noncardiac related chest pain with reassurance, it would mean those that are having acute coronary problems would receive treatment more quickly resulting in better treatment and potentially saving lives."

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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:May 9, 2019
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