There 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 →