Utility of point-of-care testing in ED triage.
Am J Emerg Med. 2013 Feb;31(2):291-6
Authors: Soremekun OA, Datner EM, Banh S, Becker LB, Pines JM
BACKGROUND: Triage systems are commonly used in emergency departments (ED) to prioritize patients. Laboratory testing is not typically used to help risk-stratify patients at triage.
OBJECTIVES: We studied the utility of point-of-care (POC) testing at triage in ED patients with high-risk complaints.
METHODS: We conducted a prospective observational study on a convenience sample of ED patients at an urban academic hospital with 60,000 annual visits. Patients who were triaged to the waiting area with any of the following criteria were approached for enrollment: (1) chest pain or shortness of breath in patients older than 40 years, (2) possible infection in the presence of two or more systemic inflammatory response system criteria in patients older than 18 years, and (3) patients >65 years with non-traumatic complaints. A total of 300 subjects were enrolled. All enrolled patients received POC testing that included a combination of Chem8+, hemoglobin, troponin, B-type natriuretic peptide, and lactate. The triage nurse completed a survey after receiving the results.
RESULTS: POC results was reported to be helpful in 56% of patients, changed the triage level in 15% of patients and led to 6% of patients being brought back for rapid physician evaluation. Overall, 50% of patients had one or more abnormal POC laboratory tests. There was no relationship between ED census and the likelihood of being helpful, changing the triage level, changing management, or bringing patients back any faster.
CONCLUSION: POC testing at triage is a helpful adjunct in triage of patients with high-risk ED complaints.
PMID: 23083886 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]