Immediate Stress Echocardiography for Low-Risk Chest Pain Patients in the Emergency Department: A Prospective Observational Cohort Study

Jasani G, Papas M, Patel AJ, Jasani N, Levine B, Zhang Y, Marshall ES

J Emerg Med 2018 Feb;54(2):156-164

PMID: 29274930


BACKGROUND: Evaluation and disposition of low-risk chest pain (CP) patients in the emergency department (ED) is time consuming and expensive. Low-risk CP often results in hospital admission to rule out myocardial infarction, which leads to additional costs and delays.

OBJECTIVE: Our aim was to assess whether an immediate exercise stress echocardiogram (IESE) in the ED will allow safe, efficient, and cost-effective evaluation and discharge of patients with low-risk CP.

METHODS: Low-risk CP patients (TIMI [Thrombolysis in Myocardial Infarction] score 0-1) presenting to the ED with normal electrocardiogram, no history of coronary artery disease, and negative troponin T received IESE. We followed these patients for major adverse cardiac events and compared them to a control cohort of similar-risk patients admitted with traditional care at 1 and 6 months.

RESULTS: We enrolled 216 patients, 117 IESE and 109 control. We obtained follow-up at 1 and 6 months in 94% of the IESE group and 88% in the control group. There was no difference in diagnostic catheterization or percutaneous coronary intervention between the 2 groups (6.0% and 1.7% vs. 6.4% and 1.8%; p = 0.89). Median time from triage to discharge was significantly shorter with IESE (572.6 min vs. 1466.0 min), resulting in significantly lower cost ($4380.50 vs. $6191.70). There were no adverse events related to IESE or early discharge.

CONCLUSIONS: In our study, IESE for low-risk CP patients presenting to the ED has the potential to be equally safe, more expeditious, and more cost effective than admission to an observation unit.

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