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Detection of chest pain of non-cardiac origin at the emergency room by a new non-invasive device avoiding unnecessary admission to hospital


Recent advances in the treatment of acute coronary syndromes has raised awareness that prompt presentation for chest pain may be life saving. Most patients presenting with chest discomfort have a non-ischaemic ECG on presentation, but are routinely admitted to hospital because of diagnostic uncertainty for occult MI or ischaemia.

We tested a new non-invasive device that measures central aortic pressure changes (dP/dtejc): an accepted index of myocardial performance that could be added to the diagnostic triage of ischaemia in the ER avoiding unnecessary admissions.

We followed 85 patients presenting at the ER with acute chest pain. In 72 patients, negative ECG and myocardial enzyme dynamics ruled out coronary origin during the first 24 h after admission. In 8 of the 72 patients, coronary catheterisation found normal coronary arteries. In this group, average dP/dtejc was 163 (range 92–232). In 35 patients in whom the new non-invasive cardiac performance index dP/dtejc was above a threshold of >150, acute MI was ruled out. In 13 patients, acute chest pain had coronary origin confirmed by ECG and/or positive enzymes. The average dP/dtejc in this group was 117 (range 61–149). The dP/dtejc values were found to be significantly higher in patients without acute MI (p<0.001).

Preliminary findings suggest that nearly 40% of patients presenting with acute chest pain could be spared the risks and costs of unnecessary hospital admission and more invasive cardiac testing by simply adding a easy to use, immediately obtained, test to the diagnostic protocol, and using a threshold of dP/dtejc >150 to rule out heart attack.

  • ECG, electrocardiogram
  • ER, emergency room
  • MI, myocardial infarction
  • non-invasive
  • ischaemia
  • aortic dP/dt

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