Question Of The Day #13

question of the day
qod13

Which of the following is the most appropriate next step in management for this patient’s condition?

This patient presents to the emergency department after an atypical, brief episode of chest pain. The list of potential diagnoses that may have caused the pain episodes is extensive. The focus of the Emergency Medicine practitioner should not be to determine the diagnosis per say, but rather to be to identify the presence of any life-threatening conditions (i.e. Myocardial infarction, Aortic dissection, Esophageal Rupture, Pulmonary embolism, Tension pneumothorax, Cardiac tamponade, etc.). Many of these serious diagnoses can be evaluated with a detailed history, physical exam, and basic imaging and lab work if needed. Many risk stratification tools have been developed to evaluate the likelihood a patient has chest pain due to Acute Coronary Syndrome. One well-supported tool with international validation is the HEART score tool. The HEART score categorizes a patient as low (0-3), moderate (4-6), or high risk (7-10) for a Major Adverse Cardiac Event (MACE) based on the patient’s history, EKG, age, risk factors, and troponin level. The below chart from Wieters et al. (2020) outlines the HEART score categories and how to make clinical decisions based on a patient’s score.

HEART score for cardiac risk assessment of major adverse cardiac event (MACE).

CategoryScoreExplanationRisk Features
HistoryHigh-risk features
• Middle- or left-sided chest pain
• Heavy chest pain
• Diaphoresis
• Radiation
• Nausea and vomiting
• Exertional
• Relief of symptoms by sublingual nitrates

Low-risk features
• Well localized
• Sharp pain
• Non-exertional
• No diaphoresis
• No nausea and vomiting
Slightly Suspicious 0Mostly low-risk features
Moderately Suspicious+1Mixture of high-risk and low-risk features
Highly Suspicious+2Mostly high-risk features
ECG
Normal0Completely Normal
Non-specific Repolarization Disturbance+1Non-specific repolarization disturbance• Repolarization abnormalities
• Non-specific T wave changes
• Non-specific ST wave depression or elevation
• Bundle branch blocks
• Pacemaker rhythms
• Left ventricular hypertrophy
• Early repolarization
• Digoxin effect
Significant ST Depression+2Significant ST depression• Ischemic ST-segment depression
• New ischemic T wave inversions
Age
<450
45-64+1
≥ 65+2
Risk Factors• Obesity (Body-Mass Index ≥ 30)
• Current or recent (≤ 90 days)smoker
• Currently treated diabetes mellitus
• Family history of coroner artery disease (1st degree relative < 55 year old)
• Hypercholesterolemia

OR

Any history of atherosclerotic disease earn 2 points:
• Know Coroner artery Disease: Prior myocardial infarctions, percutan coronary intervention (PCI) or coronary artery bypass graft
• Prior stroke or transient ischemic attack
• Peripheral arterial disease
No known risk factors0
1-2 risk factors+1
≥ 3 risk factors or history of atherosclerotic disease+2
Initial Troponin
≤ normal limit0
1-3 x normal limit+1
> 3x normal limit+2

Score 0–3 = 2.5 % MACE over next 6 wk: Discharge home
Score 4–6 = 22.3% MACE over next 6 wk: Admit for observation
Score 7–10 = 72.7% MACE over next 6 wk: Admit with early invasive strategies

The patient’s HEART score in this question would be 2 (1 point for age and 1 point for hypertension as a risk factor). This categorizes the patient as low risk for a MACE over the next six weeks. The appropriate course of action for this patient would be discharge home with prompt outpatient follow-up (Choice B). Admission for cardiac testing (Choice D) would be warranted for a moderate-high risk HEART score. Prescribing a benzodiazepine (Choice C) would not be warranted as this patient is asymptomatic and the pain episode is vague and atypical. Benzodiazepines are sometimes useful in patients with chest pain due to anxiety. Cardiology consultation (Choice A) would not be warranted as the patient has a low HEART score, is currently asymptomatic with normal imaging, blood work and troponin, and a normal EKG. Correct Answer: B 

References

Smith LM, Mahler SA. Chest Pain. In: Tintinalli JE, Ma O, Yealy DM, Meckler GD, Stapczynski J, Cline DM, Thomas SH. eds. Tintinalli’s Emergency Medicine: A Comprehensive Study Guide, 9e. McGraw-Hill; Accessed August 17, 2020. https://accessmedicine.mhmedical.com/content.aspx?bookid=2353&sectionid=219641169

Wieters J, McDonough J, Catral J. Chest Pain. In: Stone C, Humphries RL. eds. CURRENT Diagnosis & Treatment: Emergency Medicine, 8e. McGraw-Hill; Accessed August 17, 2020. https://accessmedicine.mhmedical.com/content.aspx?bookid=2172&sectionid=165059275

Cite this article as: Joseph Ciano, USA, "Question Of The Day #13," in International Emergency Medicine Education Project, September 18, 2020, https://iem-student.org/2020/09/18/question-of-the-day-13/, date accessed: October 20, 2020

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