Clinical assessment of chest pain and guidelines for imaging.
Eur J Radiol. 2012 Dec;81(12):3663-8
Authors: Gruettner J, Henzler T, Sueselbeck T, Fink C, Borggrefe M, Walter T
For many emergency facilities, risk assessment of patients with diffuse chest pain still poses a major challenge. In their currently valid recommendations, the international cardiological societies have defined a standardized assessment of the prognostically relevant cardiac risk criteria. Here the classic sequence of basic cardiac diagnostics including case history (cardiac risk factors), physical examination (haemodynamic and respiratory vital parameters), ECG (ST segment analysis) and laboratory risk markers (troponin levels) is paramount. The focus is, on the one hand, on timely indication for percutaneous catheterization, especially in patients at high cardiac risk with or without ST-segment elevation in the ECG, and, on the other hand, on the possibility of safely discharging patients with intermediate or low cardiac risk after non-invasive exclusion of a coronary syndrome. For patients in the intermediate or low risk group, physical or pharmacological stress testing in combination with scintigraphy, echocardiography or magnetic resonance imaging is recommended in addition to basic diagnostics. Moreover, the importance of non-invasive coronary imaging, primarily cardiac CT angiography (CCTA), is increasing. Current data show that in intermediate or low risk patients this method is suitable to reliably rule out coronary heart disease. In addition, attention is paid to the major differential diagnoses of acute coronary syndrome, particularly pulmonary embolism and aortic dissection. Here the diagnostic method of choice is thoracic CT, possibly also in combination with CCTA aiming at a triple rule-out.
PMID: 21396792 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]