Background: Chest pain is a frequent cause for emergency department (ED) presentation and is associated with significant costs. A pathway for expedited outpatient stress testing and follow-up for low risk chest pain patients in the ED was established in our institution. We present patients’ demographics and evaluate the efficacy, safety and overall performance of this quality improvement (QI) initiative.
Methods: All patients referred to the program were retrospectively identified from the first year of experience. Rates of MACE and readmissions were determined at both 30 and 60 days of follow-up. Average time to testing and clinic assessment were measured. Rates of Cardiology consultations and admissions for chest pain were determined before and after program implementation.
Results and discussion: A total of 425 patients were identified who were referred to the program. Forty patients were excluded from analysis as they failed to attend or declined testing, were inappropriately referred, or were lost to follow-up. Patient characteristics, outcome data, and adverse events are shown in table 1. A rate of over 75% stress testing within 5 days of ED visit and 68% of clinic visit within 6 weeks of a positive test was observed. Trends towards a reduction in admissions and consultations occurred in the year following program implementation(Figure 1).
Conclusion: This local program for rapid out-patient testing for low risk chest pain patients in the ED is feasible, safe, and effective. Lack of patient adherence to follow-up is a concern with this out-patient approach. Improving time to stress testing and clinic waiting times have been identified as institutional priorities on the basis of this QI project.