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JAMA Intern Med. 2015 Jan;175(1):67-75. doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2014.5830.

Use of cardiac biomarker testing in the emergency department.

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  • 1Division of General Internal Medicine, UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas.

Abstract

IMPORTANCE:

Cardiac biomarker testing is not routinely indicated in the emergency department (ED) because of low utility and potential downstream harms from false-positive results. However, current rates of testing are unknown.

OBJECTIVE:

To determine the use of cardiac biomarker testing overall, as well as stratified by disposition status and selected characteristics.

DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS:

Retrospective study of ED visits by adults (≥18 years old) selected from the 2009 and 2010 National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, a probability sample of ED visits in the United States.

EXPOSURES:

Selected patient, visit, and ED characteristics.

MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES:

Receipt of cardiac biomarker testing during the ED visit.

RESULTS:

Of 44,448 ED visits, cardiac biomarkers were tested in 16.9% of visits, representing 28.6 million visits. Biomarker testing occurred in 8.2% of visits in the absence of acute coronary syndrome (ACS)-related symptoms, representing 8.5 million visits, almost one-third of all visits with biomarker testing. Among individuals subsequently hospitalized, cardiac biomarkers were tested in 47.0% of all visits. In this group, biomarkers were tested in 35.4% of visits despite the absence of ACS-related symptoms. Among all ED visits, the number of other tests or services performed was the strongest predictor of biomarker testing independent of symptoms of ACS. Compared with 0 to 5 other tests or services performed, more than 10 other tests or services performed was associated with 59.55 (95% CI, 39.23-90.40) times the odds of biomarker testing. The adjusted probabilities of biomarker testing if 0 to 5, 6 to 10, or more than 10 other tests or services performed were 6.3%, 34.3%, and 62.3%, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE:

Cardiac biomarker testing in the ED is common even among those without symptoms suggestive of ACS. Cardiac biomarker testing is also frequently used during visits with a high volume of other tests or services independent of the clinical presentation. More attention is needed to develop strategies for appropriate use of cardiac biomarkers.

PMID:
25401720
DOI:
10.1001/jamainternmed.2014.5830
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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