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Title: Clinical decision rules to enable exclusion of acute coronary syndromes in Emergency Department patients with chest pain
Author: Body, Richard
ISNI:       0000 0004 2669 8072
Awarding Body: Manchester Metropolitan University
Current Institution: Manchester Metropolitan University
Date of Award: 2009
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Background: Diagnosis of acute coronary syndromes (ACS) in the Emergency Department (ED) is a topical and contentious issue. Current diagnostic techniques rely on hospital admission for troponin testing. Only a minority of those admitted prove to have ACS while unacceptable proportions of those discharged have unrecognised ACS. Aims: We aimed to evaluate the diagnostic and prognostic value of individual clinical findings and novel biomarkers in ED patients with suspected cardiac chest pain. We then aimed to derive a clinical decision rule (CDR) to potentially enable safe, immediate discharge of a proportion of patients from the ED while risk stratifying others to facilitate triage to an appropriate level of in-patient care. Methods: We recruited patients who presented to the ED with suspected cardiac chest pain. Variables that have previously been shown to predict diagnosis of acute myocardial infarction (AMI) or to predict outcome were prospectively recorded. Blood was drawn at presentation for levels of eight biomarkers. Patients underwent 12-hour troponin testing and were followed up for the composite primary outcome of AMI, death or urgent coronary revascularisation for six months. Variables that were univariate predictors (p<0.05) of outcome were entered into a multivariate analysis using recursive partitioning. Results: While many clinical findings and levels of all eight novel biomarkers were found to be significant predictors of outcome, none could be used individually to confirm or exclude ACS in the ED. We derived a nine-point CDR that combined clinical findings with biomarker levels to effectively stratify patients into four risk groups. 14.2% of patients were identified as being at ‘no risk’ and had a 0.0% outcome rate. The rule performed significantly better than two commonly used risk scores and may improve on triage decisions made in actual clinical practice. Conclusion: ACS remains a difficult diagnosis to confidently confirm or refute in the ED. Our CDR may help to avoid unnecessary hospital admissions while improving on triage decisions made for the remaining in-patients. Prospective validation of our findings is warranted.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: acute coronary syndromes ; diagnosis ; clinical decision rules ; sensitivity and specificity ; myocardial infarction ; biomarkers ; troponins ; heart fatty acid binding protein ; clinical decision making