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Crit Pathw Cardiol. 2012 Sep;11(3):123-7. doi: 10.1097/HPC.0b013e31825d28b9.

Design and implementation of a stand-alone chest pain evaluation center within an academic emergency department.

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Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Department of Medicine, College of Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, 32610-0277, USA.


Chest pain is a common presenting symptom for emergency department (ED) patients; however, a thorough cardiac evaluation can be difficult to complete within the ED setting. Implementation of a stand-alone unit for the evaluation of chest pain may improve care for patients with chest pain. We designed a protocol for identifying patients without an acute coronary syndrome and with low-to-intermediate likelihood of obstructive coronary artery disease (CAD). These patients were monitored in a stand-alone chest pain evaluation center (CPEC) staffed with a small group of providers and tested for CAD, if necessary. In the first 6 weeks of operation, 181 patients were evaluated in the CPEC. The prevalence of CAD risk factors was low. Of the 181 patients, 159 (88%) were discharged home and 22 (12%) required admission to the hospital for further care. We compared the number of chest pain evaluations and admissions for first 6 weeks of operation to the same 6-week period from the 2 previous years. Whereas ED chest pain evaluations increased 66% over the 2-year time frame, the proportion admitted to the hospital decreased from 53% to 42% (P < 0.0001). In conclusion, evidence-based evaluation of chest pain in patients without acute coronary syndrome and with low-to-intermediate likelihood of obstructive CAD can result in the significant majority of patients being discharged from the ED. Creation of a stand-alone CPEC in an academic hospital was associated with a significant reduction in hospital admissions.

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