Chest pain is a common reason for presentation to the emergency department (ED). Absolute criteria for Acute Coronary Syndrome without ST elevation (NSTE-ACS) are lacking. An acute coronary syndrome (ACS) needs to be distinguished from a variety of other cardiac and non-cardiac diseases that may cause chest pain.
For patients with confirmed ACS, several scoring methods can be applied in order to distinguish patients in the coronary care unit who may benefit most from therapies. The PURSUIT, TIMI, GRACE and FRISC risk scores are well validated with this respect. However, none of these risk scores has been used in the identification of an ACS in the emergency setting. The vast majority of patients with chest pain due to causes other than ACS were not evaluated in these trials. An evidence- based systematic stratification and policy for these patients does not currently exist.
The more recently developed HEART score is specifically designed to stratify all chest pain patients in the ED. The HEART score was validated in a retrospective multicenter study and proved to be a strong predictor of event free survival on one hand and potentially life threatening cardiac events on the other hand. The HEART score facilitates risk stratification of chest pain patients in the ED.
Keywords: Chest pain, risk scores, emergency department, ST elevation, acute coronary syndrome, non-cardiac disease, PURSUIT, pulmonary embolism, pericardial irritations, pleural, cholecystitis, integrelin therapy, multivariate regression
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