Study objective: To evaluate a comprehensive diagnostic 9-hour evaluation (Heart ER Program) for patients with possible acute ischemic coronary syndromes.
Design: Retrospective review of consecutive patients.
Setting: Urban tertiary care emergency department.
Participants: A total of 1,010 patients with symptoms suggestive of acute ischemic coronary syndrome was enrolled in the Heart ER Program over the first 32 months of operation. Patients with history of coronary artery disease, hemodynamic instability, acute ST-segment elevation or depression of more than 1 mm, or a clinical syndrome consistent with unstable angina were directly admitted to the hospital.
Intervention: Patients underwent serial testing for creatine kinase (CK-MB) on presentation to the Heart ER and 3, 6, and 9 hours later with continuous 12-lead ECGs/serial ST-segment trend monitoring for 9 hours. Two-dimensional echocardiography and graded exercise testing were performed in the ED after the 9-hour evaluation period.
Results: Of 1,010 patients, 829 (82.1%) were released home from the ED; 153 (15.1%) required admission for further cardiac evaluation. Fifty-two of 153 (33.9%) admitted patients were found to have a cardiac cause for their symptoms; 43 had acute ischemic coronary syndromes (12, acute myocardial infarction; 31, angina or unstable angina).
Conclusion: The Heart ER program provides an effective method for evaluating low- to moderate-risk patients with possible acute ischemic coronary syndrome in the ED setting.