Background: A challenge for clinicians in emergency departments (EDs) is rapid identification of those patients with chest pain who require admission and urgent management and those with low clinical risk who can be discharged safely from the ED. This study was designed with an aim to evaluate the ability of two-dimensional transthoracic echocardiography (2D-TTE) to determine causes of acute chest pain in patients presenting to the ED in order to decide whether hospital admission and further investigations were needed.
Material/methods: A total of 250 consecutive patients admitted with chest pain, were enrolled in this prospective study. Patients were divided into three groups: high risk, moderate risk, and low risk of cardiac events, according to cardiovascular risk factors. 2D-TTE was obtained using the HI vision Avius ultrasound unit (Hitachi). Statistical analysis was performed with the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS), version 20.
Results: Ischemic and/or non-ischemic heart diseases (IHD and/or NIHD) were detected in 147 (86.5%), 13 (7.6%), and 10 (5.9%) patients with high, moderate, and low risk, respectively. 2D-TTE was characterized by sensitivity of 85.86%, specificity of 100%, and positive predictive value (PPV) of 100% for detecting causes of chest pain.
Conclusions: 2D-TTE increased specificity and sensitivity of detecting causes of chest pain, when compared to patient history, clinical findings, and electrocardiography (ECG). 2D-TTE can be used to help determine the need for hospital admission, to confirm or exclude diagnosis, and guide urgent therapy.
Keywords: Echocardiography, Doppler; Electrocardiography; Myocardial Infarction.