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עמוד בית
Fri, 01.12.23

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February 2013
S. Hamoud, R. Mahamid, M. Halabi, J. Lessick, S. Abbadi, R. Shreter, Z. Keidar, D. Aronson, H. Hammerman and T. Hayek
 Background: Chest pain is one of the most common reasons for emergency department visits and hospital admissions. Chest pain units (CPU) are being incorporated in tertiary hospitals for rapid and effective management of patients with chest pain. In Israel prior to 2010, only one chest pain unit existed in a tertiary hospital.

Objectives: To report our first year experience with a CPU located in an internal medicine department as compared to the year before establishment of the CPU.

Methods: We retrospectively evaluated the medical records of consecutive patients who were admitted to our internal medicine department for the investigation of chest pain for 2 different years: a year before and a year after the establishment of the CPU in the department. We focused on the patients' characteristics and the impact of the CPU regarding the investigational modalities used and the length of in-hospital stay.

Results: In the year before establishment of the CPU, 258 patients were admitted to our department with chest pain, compared to 417 patients admitted to the CPU in the first year of its operation. All patients were followed for serial electrocardiographic and cardiac enzyme testing. All CPU patients (100%) underwent investigation compared to only 171 patients (66%) in the pre-CPU year. During the year pre-CPU, 164 non-invasive tests were performed (0.64 tests per patient) compared to 506 tests (1.2 tests/patient) in the CPU population. Coronary arteriography was performed in 35 patients (14%) during the pre-CPU year, mostly as the first test performed, compared to 61 patients (15%) during the CPU year, mostly as a second test, with only 5 procedures (1.1%) being the first test performed. The length of hospitalization was significantly shorter during the CPU year, 37.8 ± 29.4 hours compared to 66.8 ± 46 hours in the pre-CPU year.

Conclusions: Establishment of a CPU in an internal medicine department significantly decreased the need for invasive coronary arteriography as the first modality for investigating patients admitted with chest pain, significantly decreased the need for invasive procedures (especially where no intervention was performed), and significantly shortened the hospitalization period. CPU is an effective facility for rapid and effective investigation of patients admitted with chest pain. 

August 2011
O. Goitein, R. Beigel, S. Matetzky, R. Kuperstein, S. Brosh, Y. Eshet, E. Di Segni and E. Konen

Background: Coronary computed tomography angiography (CCTA) is an established modality for ruling out coronary artery disease. However, it has been suggested that CCTA may be a source of non-negligible radiation exposure.

Objectives: To evaluate the potential degradation in coronary image quality when using prospective gated (PG) CCTA as compared with retrospective gated (RG) CCTA in chest pain evaluation.

Methods: The study cohort comprised 216 patients: 108 consecutive patients in the PG CCTA arm and 108 patients matched for age, gender and heart rate in the RG CCTA arm. Scans were performed using a 64-slice multidetector CT scanner. All 15 coronary segments were evaluated subjectively for image quality using a 5-point visual scale. Dose-length product was recorded for each patient and the effective radiation dose was calculated

Results: The PG CCTA technique demonstrated a significantly higher incidence of step artifacts in the middle and distal right coronary artery, the distal left anterior descending artery, the second diagonal, the distal left circumflex artery, and the second marginal branches. Nevertheless, the diagnostic performance of these scans was not adversely affected. The mean effective radiation doses were 3.8 ± 0.9 mSv vs.17.2 ± 3 mSv for PG CCTA and RG CCTA, respectively (P < 0.0001).

Conclusions: Artifacts caused by the PG CCTA technique (64 MDCT) scanners tended to appear in specific coronary segments but did not impair the overall diagnostic quality of CCTA and there was a marked reduction in radiation exposure. We conclude that 64-slice PG CCTA is suitable for clinical use, especially for acute chest pain "fast track" evaluation targeted at relatively young subjects in a chest pain unit.

June 2010
R. Beigel, D. Oieru, O. Goitein, P. Chouraqui, M.S. Feinberg, S. Brosh, E. Asher, E. Konen, A. Shamiss, M. Eldar, H. Hod, J. Or and S. Matetzky

Background: Many patients present to the emergency department with chest pain. While in most of them chest pain represents a benign complaint, in some patients it underlies a life-threatening illness.

Objectives: To assess the routine evaluation of patients presenting to the ED[1] with acute chest pain via the utilization of a cardiologist-based chest pain unit using different non-invasive imaging modalities.

Methods: We evaluated the records of 1055 consecutive patients who presented to the ED with complaints of chest pain and were admitted to the CPU[2]. After an observation period and according to the decision of the attending cardiologist, patients underwent myocardial perfusion scintigraphy, multidetector computed tomography, or stress echocardiography.

Results: The CPU attending cardiologist did not prescribe non-invasive evaluation for 108 of the 1055 patients, who were either admitted (58 patients) or discharged (50 patients) after an observation period. Of those remaining, 445 patients underwent MDCT[3], 444 MPS[4], and 58 stress echocardiography. Altogether, 907 patients (86%) were discharged from the CPU. During an average period of 236 ± 223 days, 25 patients (3.1%) were readmitted due to chest pain of suspected cardiac origin, and only 8 patients (0.9%) suffered a major adverse cardiovascular event.

Conclusions: Utilization of the CPU enabled a rapid and thorough evaluation of the patients’ primary complaint, thereby reducing hospitalization costs and occupancy on the one hand and avoiding misdiagnosis in discharged patients on the other.


[1] ED = emergency department

[2] CPU = chest pain unit

[3] MDCT = multidetector computed tomography

[4] MPS = myocardial perfusion scintigraphy

May 2006
R. Rubinshtein, D.A. Halon, A. Kogan, R. Jaffe, B. Karkabi, T. Gaspar, M.Y. Flugelman, R. Shapira, A. Merdler and B.S. Lewis

Background: Emergency room triage of patients presenting with chest pain syndromes may be difficult. Under-diagnosis may be dangerous, while over0diagnosis may be costly.

Objectives: To report our initial experience with an emergency room cardiologist-based chest pain unit in Israel.

Methods: During a 5 week pilot study, we examined resource utilization and ER [1] diagnosis in 124 patients with chest pain of uncertain etiology or non-high risk acute coronary syndrome. First assessment was performed by the ER physicians and was followed by a second assessment by the CPU[2] team. Assessment was based on the following parameters: medical history and examination, serial electrocardiography, hematology, biochemistry and biomarkers for ACS[3], exercise stress testing and/or 64-slice multi-detector cardiac computed tomography angiography. Changes in decision between initial assessment and final CPU assessment with regard to hospitalization and utilization of resources were recorded.

Results: All patients had at least two cardiac troponin T measurements, 19 underwent EST[4], 9 echocardiography and 29 cardiac MDCT[5]. Fourteen patients were referred for early cardiac catheterization (same/next day). Specific working diagnosis was reached in 71/84 patients hospitalized, including unstable angina in 39 (31%) and non-ST elevation myocardial infarction in 12 (10%). Following CPU assessment, 40/124 patients (32%) were discharged, 49 (39%) were admitted to Internal Medicine and 35 (28%) to the Cardiology departments. CPU assessment and extended resources allowed discharge of 30/101 patients (30%) who were initially identified as candidates for hospitalization after ER assessment. Furthermore, 13/23 (56%) of patients who were candidates for discharge after initial ER assessment were eventually hospitalized. Use of non-invasive tests was significantly greater in patients discharged from the ER (85% vs. 38% patients hospitalized) (P < 0.0001). The mean ER stay tended to be longer (14.9 ± 8.6 hours vs. 12.9 ± 11, P = NS) for patients discharged. At 30 days follow-up, there were no adverse events (myocardial infarction or death) in any of the 40 patients discharged from the ER after CPU assessment. One patient returned to the ER because of chest pain and was discharged after re-assessment. 

Conclusions: Our initial experience showed that an ER cardiologist-based chest pain unit improved assessment of patients presenting to the ER with chest pain, and enhanced appropriate use of diagnostic tests prior to decision regarding admission/discharge from the ER.


[1] ER = emergency room

[2] CPU = chest pain unit

[3] ACS = acute coronary syndrome

[4] EST = exercise stress testing

[5] MDCT = multi-detector cardiac computed tomography angiography

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