Clinical Competence in ST-segment Elevation Myocardial Infarction Management by Recently Graduated Physicians Applying for a Medical Residency Program

BACKGROUND:

A significant reduction in the morbidity and mortality related to ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) has been achieved with the development of reperfusion therapies. Early diagnosis and correct initial management are important to ensure this benefit. In Brazil, recent graduates in medicine are responsible for a large part of the initial care provided for these patients.

OBJECTIVE:

To assess the clinical competence in the diagnosis and initial treatment of STEMI by newly graduated physicians applying for a medical residency program.

METHODS:

We assessed the performance of 771 applicants for the direct entry selection process of the FMRP-USP Clinical Hospital Medicine Residency Program, performed in a simulated setting of STEMI, with professional actors and medical evaluators, using a standardized checklist following the recommendations of the Brazilian Guidelines for the management of this disease.

RESULTS:

The general performance score presented a median of 7 and an interquartile range of 5.5-8.0. In relation to the items assessed: 83% required ECG monitoring, 57% requested the insertion of a peripheral venous access catheter, 95% administered acetylsalicylic acid, 80% administered a second antiplatelet agent (p2y12 inhibitor), 66% administered nitrate, 71% administered morphine, 69% recognized the diagnosis of STEMI, 71% assessed the pain duration, 63% recognized the need for immediate transfer, 34% showed adequate communication skills and only 25% insisted on the transfer even in case of non-availability of beds.

CONCLUSIONS:

The initial diagnosis and management of STEMI need to be improved in medical undergraduate courses and inserted into the reality of the hierarchical network structure of the Brazilian Unified Health System (SUS).