In case you didn’t encounter a patient with sudden onset chest pain today!
In case you didn’t encounter a patient with sharp inter scapular pain today!
A 67-year-old male patient presented with sharp interscapular pain. BP: 189/107 mmHg, HR: 118 bpm, RR: 26/min, T: 37, SpO2: 93% in room air. He has a history of hypertension and diabetes mellitus. The chest x-ray is shown below.
Let’s remember findings of aortic dissection in the chest x-ray.
- Depression of the left mainstem bronchus
- Displaced intimal calcification
- Indistinct or irregular aortic contour
- Left apical pleural cap
- Opacification of the “AP window” (i.e., clear space between the aorta and the pulmonary artery)
- Pleural effusion (left > right)
- Tracheal or esophageal deviation
- Widened aortic knob or mediastinum (present in only 63% and 56% of patients with type A and type B dissections, respectively)
A 56-year-old male presented to the emergency department with sudden onset of severe tearing chest pain radiating to the back. He had a history of hypertension and hyperlipidemia. He was a smoker. Upon arrival, he appeared to be diaphoretic and in severe pain. He denied any prior history of chest pain. He had been without any infective symptoms lately. He was compliant with his medications, namely, amlodipine and simvastatin. At triage, his blood pressure was noted to be 80/60 mmHg with a pulse rate of 130 bpm. His oxygen saturation was 95% on room air, and his respiratory rate was 22 breaths per minute. On examination, he had muffled heart sounds, jugular venous distention, and radio-radial pulse delay.
You are the emergency doc working in a rural ED. It is the Saturday night at 23:25 and you have three patients with chest pain. All have unchanged ECGs and normal troponins. All feel well now and want to go home if you think their results are okay. What is your plan for each of them?
Patient 1. Isabel D. is a 45-year old female with a history of hypertension. She presented to the emergency department with left-sided sharp chest pain. Her pain started after his evening run, and she vomited once. Her pain continued for one hour, but then it lessened spontaneously. Now she is feeling well, and she wants to go home. Her ECG is completely normal. Her 0- and 3-hour troponins are negative.
Paint 2. Daniel B. Is a 65-year old male with a history of smoking, hypotension and left bundle branch block (LBBB). He is obese. He presented to the emergency department with left-sided heavy chest pain, radiating to his left arm, chin, and back. He went to bed early today, and his chest pain woke him up. For half an hour, he has felt sweaty and nauseated but now he is feeling well, and he wants to go home. His ECG shows LBBB, unchanged compared to his previous ECGs and without Sgarbossa Criteria. His 0- and 3- hour troponins are negative.
Patient 3. Hank P. is a 54-year old male with a history of hypertension, diabetes mellitus and prior stroke with no sequel. For twenty minutes, he experienced a sharp pain in the middle of his chest. His pain had started while he was watching TV and he felt sweaty all in a sudden. he had His ECG shows findings related to left ventricular hypertrophy. His 0- and 3- hour troponins are negative.
HEART Score was developed to predict the 6-week risk of a major adverse cardiac event of patients with chest pain, precisely in the emergency department setting (1). It outperformed the others, especially in exclusion of low-risk patients (2) Patients with a combination of HEART score of 0-3 and two negative troponins can be safely discharged from ED with no major adverse cardiac events (3). Patients with HEART Score of 4-6 requires admission and are candidates for further noninvasive investigations (1). Patients with HEART Score of ≥7 requires admission and are candidates for early invasive strategies (1).
• Middle- or left-sided chest pain
• Heavy chest pain
• Nausea and vomiting
• Relief of symptoms by sublingual nitrates
• Well localized
• Sharp pain
• No diaphoresis
• No nausea and vomiting
|Slightly Suspicious||0||Mostly low-risk features|
|Moderately Suspicious||+1||Mixture of high-risk and low-risk features|
|Highly Suspicious||+2||Mostly high-risk features|
|Non-specific Repolarization Disturbance||+1||Non-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||+2||Significant ST depression||• Ischemic ST-segment depression
• New ischemic T wave inversions
|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)
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 factors||0|
|1-2 risk factors||+1|
|≥ 3 risk factors or history of atherosclerotic disease||+2|
|≤ normal limit||0|
|1-3 x normal limit||+1|
|> 3x normal limit||+2|
Now, let’s look back on our patients.
Isabel’s pain has both high-risk (exertional, left-sided pain with vomiting) and (sharp pain, no diaphoresis) features; therefore, her pain is moderately suspicious. (H: +1) Her ECG is completely normal. (E: 0) She is 45 years old. (A: +1). She has one risk factor, hypertension. (R: +1) Her troponins are normal. (T: 0) Her HEART score is 3, and she can safely go home from the emergency department. The expected MACE rate in 30 days is 0%.
Daniel’s pain has mostly high-features (left-sided, radiating heavy chest pain with nausea and vomiting); therefore his pain is highly suspicious. (H: +2) His ECG is not completely normal but free of new ischemic changes. (E: +1) He is 65 years old. (A: +2). He has three risk factors, smoking, obesity, and hypertension. (R: +2) His troponins are normal. (T: 0) His HEART score is 7, and he is a candidate for early invasive intervention. You should admit him and call the cardiologist.
Hank’s pain has both high-risk (middle-sided chest pain with diaphoresis) and low-risk (non-exertional, sharp pain) features; therefore, his pain is moderately suspicious. (H: +1) His ECG is not completely normal but free of new ischemic changes. (E: +1) He is 54 years old. (A: +1). He has three risk factors, hypertension, diabetes mellitus and prior stroke. (Note that prior stroke alone earns two points) (R: +2) His troponins are normal. (T: 0) His HEART score is 5, and he is a candidate for noninvasive investigation. You should admit him.
PEARLS and PITFALLS
- ECG: If the ECG shows STEMI, do not wait for troponin or consider the HEART score. Call the cardiologist and consider activating angiography unit for the primary PCI.
- Troponins: If you first troponin is highly abnormal, do not wait for the second troponin or consider the HEART score. Call the cardiologist and consider activating angiography unit for the primary PCI. Additionally, the magnitude of change between the first and the second troponin is important in diagnosing acute myocardial infarction (5).
- Clinical Gestalt: You will gain a clinical gestalt over the years. If your clinical gestalt and any scoring disagree, always stay on the safe side for the patient’s benefit (4).
- Patient Safety: In the original study, the HEART score was combined with only one troponin. The adverse event rate was 2.5% for the HEART score 0-3 patients, 20.3% for the HEART score 4-6 patients and 72.7% for the HEART score ≥7 patients. Therefore, the author believes, the HEART score combined with two troponins is safer in the discharge of low-risk patients. Low-risk patients (i.e., HEART Score 0-3) with negative two troponins had no MACE within 30 days (3).
Chest Pain by Asaad S Shujaa
Acute Coronary Syndrome (ACS)
by Khalid Mohammed Ali, Shirley Ooi
- Six, A. J., Backus, B. E., & Kelder, J. C. (2008). Chest pain in the emergency room: value of the HEART score. Netherlands Heart Journal, 16(6), 191-196. – link
- Radecki, R. (2013). Time to Move to the HEART Score. Available at: http://www.emlitofnote.com/?p=440 (Accessed: 17/07/2018) – link
- Mahler, S. A., Riley, R. F., Hiestand, B. C., Russell, G. B., Hoekstra, J. W., Lefebvre, C. W., … & Herrington, D. M. (2015). The Heart Pathway Randomized Trial: Identifying Emergency Department Patients With Acute Chest Pain for Early Discharge. Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, 8(2), 195-203. – link
- Hyunjoo, L., & Rodriguez, C. (n.d.). HEART Score for Major Cardiac Events. Available at: https://www.mdcalc.com/heart-score-major-cardiac-events#evidence (Accessed: 17/07/2018) – link
- Roffi, M., Patrono, C., Collet, J. P., Mueller, C., Valgimigli, M., Andreotti, F., … & Gencer, B. (2016). 2015 ESC Guidelines for the management of acute coronary syndromes in patients presenting without persistent ST-segment elevation: Task Force for the Management of Acute Coronary Syndromes in Patients Presenting without Persistent ST-Segment Elevation of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC). European heart journal, 37(3), 267-315. – link