Patients with suspected acute coronary syndrome in a university hospital emergency department: an observational study.

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Abstract

Background: Improved diagnostics in suspected acute coronary syndrome (ACS) are considered to be needed. To help clarify the current situation and the improvement potential, judged risk in the emergency department (ED) and outcome were analyzed among patients with suspected ACS at a university hospital. Methods: 157 consecutive patients with symptoms of ACS were included at the ED during 10 days. Risk of ACS was estimated in the ED for each patient based on history, physical examination and ECG by assigning them to one of four risk categories; I (obvious myocardial infarction, MI), II (strong suspicion of ACS), III (vague suspicion of ACS), and IV (no suspicion of ACS). Results: 4, 17, 29 and 50% of the patients were allocated to risk categories I-IV respectively. 74 patients (47%) were hospitalized but only 19 (26%) had ACS as the discharge diagnose. In risk categories I-IV, ACS rates were 100, 37, 12 and 0%, respectively. Of those admitted without ACS, at least 37% could probably, given perfect ED diagnostics, have been immediately discharged. 83 patients were discharged from the ED, and among them there were no hospitalizations for ACS or cardiac mortality at 6 months. Only about three patients per 24 h were considered eligible for a potential ED chest pain unit. Conclusions: Almost 75% of the patients hospitalized with suspected ACS did not have it, and some 40% of these patients could probably, given perfect immediate diagnostics, have been managed as outpatients. The potential for diagnostic improvement in the ED seems large.

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Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Basic Medicine

Keywords

  • Acute coronary syndrome, chest pain, emergency department, outcome
Original languageEnglish
JournalBMC Emergency Medicine
Volume2
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes

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