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Long-Term Prognosis of Low-Risk Women Presenting to the Emergency Department with Chest Pain

ecg monitor with doctor's hand


Prognosis of low-risk women presenting to the emergency department (ED) with chest pain has not been clarified. We assessed early and long-term outcomes of such patients and determined the need for predischarge testing.


Retrospective assessment of consecutive low-risk women presenting to the ED with chest pain evaluated in a chest pain unit (CPU). Criteria of low risk: age ≤51 years; no history of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, or smoking; negative initial electrocardiogram (ECG); and cardiac troponin. Predischarge testing (treadmill or stress imaging) was performed at the discretion of the CPU attending physician.


The study group comprised 214 consecutive women. Predischarge testing was performed in 142 patients (66%, age 43.9 years) and 72 patients (34%, age 43.1 years) had no predischarge testing. Predischarge testing comprised exercise treadmill (n = 102, 72%) or stress imaging (n = 40, 28%). Length of stay with no predischarge testing was 4.1 hours, compared with 8.6 hours with predischarge testing (P = .04). There were no cardiovascular events in the index presentation; during a 5-year interval (100% follow-up), there were 2 cardiovascular events (fatal heart failure, 1 patient; fatal stroke, 1 patient [total, 2/214, 0.93%]).


Low-risk women presenting to the ED with chest pain have an excellent short- and long-term prognosis. A majority of patients did not receive predischarge testing, and their length of stay was reduced by >50% compared with those with predischarge testing. These findings suggest that such patients may not require predischarge testing for disposition from a CPU, which can reduce length of stay, decrease cost, and improve resource utilization.

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-Moneer Eddin, MD, Sandhya Venugopal, MD, MS-HPEd, Brittany Chatterton, MD, Angela Thinda, MD, Ezra A. Amsterdam, MD

This article originally appeared in the November 2017 issue of The American Journal of Medicine.

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