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The accuracy of emergency medical dispatcher-assisted layperson-caller pulse check using the medical priority dispatch system protocol



The accuracy of emergency medical dispatcher-assisted layperson-caller pulse check using the medical priority dispatch system protocol



Prehospital and Disaster Medicine 27(3): 252-259



Knowing the pulse rate of a patient in a medical emergency can help to determine patient acuity and the level of medical care required. Little evidence exists regarding the ability of a 911 layperson-caller to accurately determine a conscious patient's pulse rate. Hypothesis The hypothesis of this study was that, when instructed by a trained emergency medical dispatcher (EMD) using the scripted Medical Priority Dispatch System (MPDS) protocol Pulse Check Diagnostic Tool (PCDxT), a layperson-caller can detect a carotid pulse and accurately determine the pulse rate in a conscious person. This non-randomized and non-controlled prospective study was conducted at three different public locations in the state of Utah (USA). A healthy, mock patient's pulse rate was obtained using an electrocardiogram (ECG) monitor. Layperson-callers, in turn, initiated a simulated 911 phone call to an EMD call-taker who provided instructions for determining the pulse rate of the patient. Layperson accuracy was assessed using correlations between the layperson-caller's finding and the ECG reading. Two hundred sixty-eight layperson-callers participated; 248 (92.5%) found the pulse of the mock patient. There was a high correlation between pulse rates obtained using the ECG monitor and those found by the layperson-callers, overall (94.6%, P < .001), and by site, gender, and age. Layperson-callers, when provided with expert, scripted instructions by a trained 911 dispatcher over the phone, can accurately determine the pulse rate of a conscious and healthy person. Improvements to the 911 instructions may further increase layperson accuracy.

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Accession: 056230738

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 22854003

DOI: 10.1017/s1049023x12000805


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