Background: The focus of the diagnostic process in chest pain patients at the emergency department is to identify both low and high risk patients for an acute coronary syndrome (ACS). The HEART score was designed to facilitate this process. This study is a prospective validation of the HEART score.
Methods: A total of 2440 unselected patients presented with chest pain at the cardiac emergency department of ten participating hospitals in The Netherlands. The HEART score was assessed as soon as the first lab results and ECG were obtained. Primary endpoint was the occurrence of major adverse cardiac events (MACE) within 6 weeks. Secondary endpoints were (i) the occurrence of AMI and death, (ii) ACS and (iii) the performance of a coronary angiogram. The performance of the HEART score was compared with the TIMI and GRACE scores.
Results: Low HEART scores (values 0-3) were calculated in 36.4% of the patients. MACE occurred in 1.7%. In patients with HEART scores 4-6, MACE was diagnosed in 16.6%. In patients with high HEART scores (values 7-10), MACE occurred in 50.1%. The c-statistic of the HEART score (0.83) is significantly higher than the c-statistic of TIMI (0.75)and GRACE (0.70) respectively (p<0.0001).
Conclusion: The HEART score provides the clinician with a quick and reliable predictor of outcome, without computer-required calculating. Low HEART scores (0-3), exclude short-term MACE with >98% certainty. In these patients one might consider reserved policies. In patients with high HEART scores (7-10) the high risk of MACE may indicate more aggressive policies.
Keywords: Acute coronary syndrome; Chest pain; Emergency room; HEART score; Risk score.
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