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Ann Emerg Med. 1993 May;22(5):794-8.

Emergency cardiac stress testing in the evaluation of emergency department patients with atypical chest pain.

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Department of Emergency Medicine, Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine, Akron.



To determine the feasibility, safety, and reliability of emergency cardiac treadmill exercise stress testing (CTEST) in the evaluation of emergency department patients with atypical chest pain.


Thirty-two patients with atypical chest pain, normal ECGs, and risk factor stratification having low-probability of coronary artery disease were evaluated prospectively using outpatient, emergency CTEST. Study patients were compared with a retrospectively selected sample of admitted patients diagnosed with atypical chest pain who met the study criteria and were evaluated with CTEST as inpatients. All patients had follow-up at three and six months after evaluation.


University-affiliated community teaching hospital with 65,000 annual ED visits.


All patients had normal CTEST. No patient had evidence of coronary artery disease, myocardial infarction, or sudden death during the follow-up period. The average length of stay was 5.5 hours for emergency CTEST patients versus two days for inpatients. The average patient charge was $467 for ED evaluation with emergency CTEST versus $2,340 for inpatient evaluation.


Emergency CTEST is a safe, efficient, cost-effective, and practical method of evaluating selected ED patients with chest pain. It is a useful aid for clinical decision making and may help to prevent unnecessary hospital admissions.

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