Isr Med Assoc J 2010 Jun;12(6):329-33
Leviev Heart Institute, Sheba Medical Center, Ramat Aviv, Israel.
Background: Many patients present to the emergency department with chest pain. While in most of them chest pain represents a benign complaint, in some patients it underlies a life-threatening illness.
Objectives: To assess the routine evaluation of patients presenting to the ED with acute chest pain by means of a cardiologist-based chest pain unit using different noninvasive imaging modalities.
Methods: We evaluated the records of 1055 consecutive patients who presented to the ED with complaints of chest pain and were admitted to the CPU. After an observation period and according to the decision of the attending cardiologist, patients underwent myocardial perfusion scintigraphy, multidetector computed tomography, or stress echocardiography.
Results: The CPU attending cardiologist did not prescribe non-invasive evaluation for 108 of the 1055 patients, who were either admitted (58 patients) or discharged (50 patients) after an observation period. Of those remaining, 444 patients underwent MDCT, 445 MPS, and 58 stress echocardiography. Altogether, 907 patients (86%) were discharged from the CPU. During an average period of 236 +/- 223 days, 25 patients (3.1%) were readmitted due to chest pain of suspected cardiac origin, and only 8 patients (0.9%) suffered a major adverse cardiovascular event.
Conclusions: Utilization of the CPU enabled a rapid and thorough evaluation of the patients' primary complaint, thereby reducing hospitalization costs and occupancy on the one hand and avoiding misdiagnosis in discharged patients on the other.
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