There are few data on the utility of physician selection of cardiac tests, including no-test, in a chest pain unit (CPU) to rule out acute coronary syndrome in low-risk patients without a history of coronary artery disease. We analyzed consecutive low-risk patients admitted to our CPU between 2012 and 2014 and determined the proportion of patients selected for testing, the type of initial cardiac test selected, and the incidence of major adverse cardiac events (MACEs) at 30 days and 6 months. The study group comprised 619 patients: mean age 57 years (27 to 92), 332 women (54%), and 360 (58%) with multiple cardiac risk factors. Cardiac testing included 283 no-test (46%); 179 exercise treadmill (29%); 113 myocardial perfusion stress scintigraphy (18%); <10% each for exercise stress echocardiography and coronary angiography. Testing was negative in 296 (88%), nondiagnostic in 30 (9%), and positive in 10 patients (3%). There were no MACEs at 30 days in any patients, and at 6 months, MACEs were 5 (1.1%). Length of stay was less in no-test than in tested patients (5.4 hours vs 9.8 hours, p <0.0001), and there was no difference in incidence of MACE at 6 months in no-test vs tested patients (2 MACEs vs 3 MACEs). Physician selection of cardiac tests, including no-test, promptly identified patients at low risk of acute coronary syndrome who could be safely and rapidly discharged from the CPU. Exclusion of cardiac testing shortened length of stay and was not associated with increase in MACE at 6 months.
The American Journal of Cardiology – Elsevier
Published: Apr 1, 2018
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