Role of cardiological specialistic evaluation in patients with chest pain presenting in the emergency department

Link to article at PubMed

J Cardiovasc Med (Hagerstown). 2022 Jan 25. doi: 10.2459/JCM.0000000000001299. Online ahead of print.


AIMS: Aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of cardiological and echocardiographic evaluation in addition to a standard clinical and instrumental approach on diagnostic and prognostic accuracy in patients presenting in the emergency department (ED) with chest pain (CP). Acute coronary syndromes, pulmonary embolism and acute aortic syndromes (AAS) (triple-rule-out/TRO) were considered.

METHODS: From 7040 patients presenting with CP from 1 January 2015 to 31 December 2017, we randomly selected a sample of 1119. We retrospectively evaluated the clinical course and definitive diagnosis according to the ED final report. A 6-month follow-up to assess incident acute cardiovascular events was made by telephone interview in discharged patients; in hospitalized patients, clinical records were analyzed to evaluate the appropriateness of admissions. Diagnostic and prognostic accuracy wasd estimated through sensitivity, specificity, positive (PPV) and negative (NPV) predictive values, according to the presence or absence of cardiological and echocardiographic consultation.

RESULTS: Complete information of 1099 patients out of 1119 was retrieved. Seven hundred and eighty-eight patients (71.70%) had been discharged, eight inappropriately (0.73%). Three hundred eleven (28.30%) had been hospitalized, 14 (1.27%) inappropriately. Diagnostic performance showed 97.38% sensitivity, 98.24% specificity, 95.5% PPV and 99% NPV, with an overall accuracy of 98.00%. In patients evaluated by the cardiologist in addition to the ED physician (n = 387) we observed an improvement of sensitivity and NPV at the expense of specificity. Among improperly discharged patients, 7/8 had normal troponin, 7/8 normal ECG and only 1 was evaluated by a cardiologist. Only one inappropriately hospitalized patient was not evaluated by a cardiologist.

CONCLUSIONS: Early consultation with a cardiologist and echocardiography improves clinical judgment in doubtful cases of CP, increasing diagnostic performance mainly by reducing inappropriate patient discharge and guaranteeing a low rate of inappropriate hospitalizations.

PMID:35081073 | DOI:10.2459/JCM.0000000000001299

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