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Am J Cardiol. 2010 Jun 1;105(11):1561-4. doi: 10.1016/j.amjcard.2010.01.014. Epub 2010 Apr 10.

Comparison of frequency of inducible myocardial ischemia in patients presenting to emergency department with typical versus atypical or nonanginal chest pain.

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Department of Emergency Medicine and Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine, Mount Sinai Medical Center, New York, New York, USA.


The present study was designed to assess the value of the presenting symptom of "typical" anginal pain, "atypical/nonanginal" pain, or the lack of chest pain in predicting the presence of inducible myocardial ischemia using cardiac stress testing in emergency department patients being evaluated for possible acute coronary syndrome. We performed a retrospective observational study of adult patients who were evaluated for acute coronary syndrome in an emergency department chest pain unit. The presenting symptoms were obtained from a structured questionnaire administered before stress testing. Patient chest pain was categorized according to the presence of substernal chest pain or discomfort that was provoked by exertion or emotional stress and was relieved by rest and/or nitroglycerin. Chest pain was classified as "typical" angina if all 3 descriptors were present and "atypical" or "nonanginal" if <3 descriptors were present. All patients underwent serial biomarker and cardiac stress testing before discharge. A total of 2,525 patients met the eligibility criteria. Inducible ischemia on stress testing was found in 33 (14%, 95% confidence interval 10% to 19%) of the 231 patients who had typical anginal pain, 238 (11%, 95% confidence interval 10% to 13%) of the 2,140 patients presenting with atypical/nonanginal chest pain, and 25 (16%, 95% confidence interval 11% to 22%) of the 153 patients who had no complaint of chest pain on presentation. Compared to patients with atypical or no chest pain, patients with typical chest pain were not significantly more likely to have inducible ischemia on stress testing (likelihood ratio +1.25, 95% confidence interval 0.89 to 1.78). In conclusion, in our study, the patients who presented with "typical" angina were no more likely to have inducible myocardial ischemia on stress testing than patients with other presenting symptoms.

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