ECG interpretation is one of the most important skills to master as an emergency physician, and its interpretation can be very complex and frustrating. ECG manifestations can be very subtle, and sometimes the earliest and only ECG change seen will be reciprocal changes alone. To further complicate this, many patients have the atypical symptoms of nausea/vomiting, weakness, or shortness of breath and not chest pain.
Every year there are 6 million visits to the Emergency Department (ED) for chest pain, and approximately 2 million hospital admissions each year. This is approximately about 10% of ED visits and 25% of hospital admissions with 85% of these admissions receiving a diagnosis of a non-ischemic etiology to their chest pain (CP). This over triage has enormous economic implications for the US health care system estimated at $8 billion in annual costs.