Chest pain in the ambulance; prevalence, causes and outcome - a retrospective cohort study

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BACKGROUND: Chest pain is common in acute ambulance transports. This study aims to characterize and compare ambulance-transported chest pain patients to non-chest pain patients and evaluate if patient characteristics and accompanying symptoms accessible at the time of emergency call can predict cause and outcome in chest pain patients.

METHODS: Retrospective, observational population-based study, including acute ambulance transports. Patient characteristics and symptoms are included in a multivariable risk model to identify characteristics, associated with being discharged without an acute cardiac diagnosis and surviving 30 days after chest pain event.

RESULTS: In total, 10,033 of 61,088 (16.4%) acute ambulance transports were due to chest pain. In chest pain patients, 30-day mortality was 2.1% (95%CI 1.8-2.4) compared to 6.0% (95%CI 5.7-6.2) in non-chest pain patients. Of chest pain patients, 1054 (10.5%) were diagnosed with acute myocardial infarction, and 5068 (50.5%) were discharged without any diagnosis of disease. This no-diagnosis group had very low 30-day mortality, 0.4% (95%CI 0.2-0.9). Female gender, younger age, chronic pulmonary disease, absence of accompanying symptoms of dyspnoea, radiation, severe pain for > 5 min, clammy skin, uncomfortable, and nausea were associated with being discharged without an acute cardiac diagnosis and surviving 30 days after a chest pain event.

CONCLUSION: Chest pain is a common reason for ambulance transport, but the majority of patients are discharged without a diagnosis and with a high survival rate. Early risk prediction seems to hold a potential for resource downgrading and thus cost-saving in selected chest pain patients.

Original languageEnglish
Article number84
JournalScandinavian Journal of Trauma, Resuscitation and Emergency Medicine
Volume27
Issue1
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
ISSN1757-7241
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019

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