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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 25  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 105-111

The impact of the HEART score on the prevalence of cardiac testing and patient outcomes in a rural emergency department

1 Faculty of Medicine, Northern Ontario School of Medicine, Sudbury, ON, Canada
2 Faculty of Medicine, Northern Ontario School of Medicine, Sudbury; Department of Emergency Medicine, Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare, Bracebridge, ON, Canada

Correspondence Address:
MSc, MD Zachary C. D. Kuehner
Faculty of Medicine, Northern Ontario School of Medicine, Sudbury, ON
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/CJRM.CJRM_77_19

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Introduction: This study was conducted to examine the use of the HEART score for risk stratification of chest pain patients presenting to rural Ontario emergency departments (EDs), assessing both its validity in a rural context and its utility in health-care resource management. Methods: This study was a retrospective chart review of adult patients presenting to the ED with chest pain. The HEART score was assessed for its ability to risk-stratify patients (high, moderate and low) in terms of the likelihood of a major adverse cardiac event (MACE) within 6 weeks. The prevalence of follow-up testing for each risk category of patients was then determined such that the potential impact on health resource management was estimated based on the number of tests ordered in low-risk patients. Results: Of the 215 charts included, 24 (11.2%) patients experienced a MACE within 6 weeks. None of the patients with a low HEART score experienced a MACE. In comparison, the incidence of MACE in moderate- and high-risk groups was calculated to be 13.9% (95% confidence interval [CI] [5.91% and 21.89%, respectively]) and 66.7% (95% CI [46.54% and 86.86%, respectively]). Eighteen percent of the low-risk patients received follow-up testing with no positive results suggestive of acute coronary syndrome. Conclusion: Our results provide external validation of the predictive value of the HEART score in determining the risk of MACE in patients presenting to a rural ED with chest pain. Our results also suggest that rates of follow-up testing in low-risk patients may be reduced in communities with limited access to resources.

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