Tag Archive for: Chest Pain

Chest Pain, “Negative” Stress Tests, POCUS, & ECG Equations

30 Apr
April 30, 2018

I was working a busy shift in the ED, like many of us do, and the next patient I was going to see was a 57 year old male with no real medical problems complaining of chest pain.  I remember thinking as I walked into the room this guy looks ashen and diaphoretic….he doesn’t look well.  He is a paramedic telling me how he has been having off and on chest pain for the past several months.  He just had a stress test two months ago that was “negative”.  Today he was working on his pool and developed the same chest discomfort as he had been having off and on the past several months, but today, the pain would just not go away.  In his mind, he thought this might be an ulcer and just needed some Pepcid to help. He got put on the monitor and an ECG was run…

The patient involved in this case has given permission to share the story, and relevant images with the knowledge that this information will be used for the purposes of education.

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Does My Patient with Chest Pain Have Acute Coronary Syndrome?

23 Nov
November 23, 2015

Acute Coronary SyndromeBackground: We have already discussed the value of a good history in assessing patients with chest pain on REBEL EM. What is known about chest pain is that it is a common complaint presenting to EDs all over the world, but only a small percentage of these patients will be ultimately diagnosed with Acute Coronary Syndrome (ACS). This complaint leads to prolonged ED length of stays, provocative testing, potentially invasive testing, and stress for the patient and the physician. For simplicity sake, we will say that, looking at the ECG can make the diagnosis of STEMI. What becomes more difficult is making a distinction between non-ST-Elevation ACS (NSTEMI/UA) vs non-cardiac chest pain. ED physicians have different levels of tolerance for missing ACS with many surveys showing that a miss rate of <1% is the acceptable miss rate, but some have an even lower threshold, as low as a 0% miss rate. Over testing however, can lead to false positives, which can lead to increased harms for patients. In November 2015, a new systematic review was published reviewing what factors could help accurately estimate the probability of ACS. Read more →

Low Risk Chest Pain and Clinically Relevant Adverse Cardiac Events (CRACE)

04 Jun
June 4, 2015

CRACE v2Background: In 2010, 5.4% of all emergency department (ED) visits in the United States were for chest pain. Admission or observation of such patients cost about $11 billion dollars in the United States in 2006. The majority of these admissions are commonly determined to be non-cardiac in etiology. Many physicians and patients believe that a hospital admission or extended observation after a “negative” ED workup has a safety benefit for patients. Previous studies have looked at 30-day mortality, but no current large trials have looked the short-term risk for clinically relevant adverse cardiac events, including inpatient STEMI, life-threatening arrhythmias, cardiac or respiratory arrest, or death. Other things to keep in mind is that one of the pitfalls of hospitalization of chest pain patients can lead to false-positive testing, hospital-acquired infections, venous thromboembolism, and other iatrogenic events, and can have greater than a 2% rate of adverse events at 30 days often cited as the upper boundary estimate for low-risk chest pain patients.

The purpose of the current study was to quantify the incidence of short-term clinically relevant adverse cardiac events (CRACE), or more simply put, life-threatening events  in patients admitted to the hospital after a “negative” ED evaluation of ischemia. The definition of “negative” was negative serial cardiac biomarkers, normal vital signs, and non-ischemic electrocardiograms (ECGs).

And by the way, checkout the authors: Scott Weingart and David Neman…. Read more →

Is it Time to Start Using the HEART Pathway in the Emergency Department?

30 Apr
April 30, 2015

The HEART PathwayThere are approximately 8 to 10 million patients complaining of chest pain coming to Emergency Departments (EDs) in the United States annually. In the US, we use a very liberal testing strategy in order to avoid acute coronary syndrome (ACS) in patients presenting with chest pain. This results in over 50% of ED patients with acute chest pain receiving serial cardiac biomarkers, stress testing, and cardiac angiography at an estimated cost of $10 to $13 billion annually and yet fewer than 10% of these patients are diagnosed with ACS.

Despite these numbers the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association (ACC/AHA) recommends that low-risk chest pain patients receive serial cardiac markers followed by some sort of provocative/objective cardiac testing. Using this strategy amongst low-risk chest pain patients unnecessarily uses resources on those least likely to benefit. Low-risk chest pain patients have ACS rates of <2% and provocative/objective cardiac testing is associated with a significant amount of “downstream” testing (i.e. cardiac catheterization) due to false positive tests.

To date, the HEART score has been examined in >6000 patients and demonstrated a high NPV for MACE at 6 weeks exceeding 98%, but until now there has been no randomized trial. Read more →

Accelerated Diagnostic Protocol for Chest Pain Not Useful in a US Population?

16 Apr
April 16, 2015

Accelerated Diagnostic ProtocolThere are approximately 8 to 10 million patients coming to Emergency Departments (EDs) in the United States annually. In the US, we use a very liberal testing strategy in order to avoid acute coronary syndrome (ACS) in patients presenting with chest pain. This results in over 50% of ED patients with acute chest pain receiving serial cardiac biomarkers, stress testing, and cardiac angiography at an estimated cost of $10 to $13 billion annually and yet fewer than 10% of these patients are diagnosed with ACS.

The 2-hour accelerated diagnostic protocol (ADAPT) combines  0 and 2 hour cardiac troponin (cTn), electrocardiograms (ECGs), and an adapted Thrombolysis in Myocardial Infarction (TIMI) score to help identify ED patients safe for early discharge. Previous studies show that this strategy can identify as many as 20% of patients for early discharge with a high sensitivity of 97.9% to 99.7% for major adverse cardiac events (MACE) at 30 days. This ADP has yet to be tested in a US population until now.

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