• By Dana Sparks

Helping Patients With Chest Pain Make Emergency Room Decisions

April 10, 2012

Chest pain is the No. 2 reason people seek emergency care at U.S. hospitals and it accounts for about $8 billion in health care costs each year.  So Mayo Clinic physicians designed an education tool called a Chest Pain Decision Aid and researched the efficacy.  

The results of the study showed that patients who went to the emergency room with chest pain but were at low risk for a heart attack were less likely to seek more tests after their conditions were explained to them with the decision aid.

“To avoid missing a diagnosis of heart attack - which could have substantial medical and legal implications - emergency physicians often admit patients to observation units for stress testing, even though patients are at a very low risk for heart attack,” says lead author Erik Hess, M.D. , a Mayo Clinic emergency room physician. “This results in false-positive test results, unnecessary additional procedures, exposure to radiation and increased cost.”

Soundbites with Dr. Hess and b-roll are available in the downloads above.

Expert Title: Dr. Erik Hess, Mayo Clinic Emergency Medicine

The findings are published in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, an American Heart Association journal.       Click here for entire news release.     

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