Outpatient versus observation/inpatient management of emergency department patients rapidly ruled-out for acute myocardial infarction: Findings from the HIGH-US study

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American heart journal


BACKGROUND: The actual Emergency Department (ED) dispositions of patients enrolled in observational studies and meeting criteria for rapid acute myocardial infarction (AMI) rule-out are unknown. Additionally, their presenting clinical profiles, cardiac testing/treatments received, and outcomes have not been reported.

METHODS: Patients in the HIGH-US study (29 sites) that ruled-out for AMI using a high-sensitivity cardiac troponin I 0/1-hour algorithm were evaluated. Clinical characteristics of patients having ED discharge were compared to patients placed in observation or hospital admitted (OBS/ADM). Reports of any OBS/ADM cardiac stress test (CST), cardiac catheterization (Cath) and coronary revascularization were reviewed. One year AMI/death and major adverse cardiovascular event rates were determined.

RESULTS: Of the 1,020 ruled-out AMI patients 584 (57.3%) had ED discharge. The remaining 436 (42.7%) were placed in OBS/ADM. Patients with risk factors for AMI, including personal or family history of coronary artery disease, hypertension, previous stroke or abnormal ECG were more often placed in OBS/ADM. 175 (40.1%) had a CST. Of these 32 (18.3%) were abnormal and 143 (81.7%) normal. Cath was done in 11 (34.3%) of those with abnormal and 13 (9.1%) with normal CST. Of those without an initial CST 85 (32.6%) had Cath. Overall, revascularizations were performed in 26 (6.0%) patients. One-year AMI/death rates were low/similar (P = .553) for the groups studied.

CONCLUSIONS: Rapidly ruled-out for AMI ED patients having a higher clinician perceived risk for new or worsening coronary artery disease and placed in OBS/ADM underwent many diagnostic tests, were infrequently revascularized and had excellent outcomes. Alternate efficient strategies for these patients are needed.

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Algorithms; Biomarkers; Cardiac Catheterization; Coronary Artery Disease; Disease Progression; Electrocardiography; Emergency Service, Hospital; Exercise Test; Female; Hospitalization; Humans; Hypertension; Kaplan-Meier Estimate; Male; Middle Aged; Myocardial Infarction; Myocardial Revascularization; Observational Studies as Topic; Patient Discharge; Risk Factors; Time Factors; Troponin I

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