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Yeungnam Univ J Med > Volume 16(2); 1999 > Article
Yeungnam University Journal of Medicine 1999;16(2):283-295.
DOI:    Published online December 31, 1999.
Clinical Presentation of th patients with Non-traumatic Chest Pain in Emergency Department.
Jun Young Chung, Sam Beom Lee, Byung Soo Do, Jong Seon Park, Dong Gu Shin, Young Jo Kim
1Department of Emergency Medicine, College of Medicine, Yeungnam University, Taegu, Korea.
2Department of Internal Medicine, College of Medicine, Yeungnam University, Taegu, Korea.
BACKGROUND: Patients with acute non-traumatic chest pain are among the most challenging patients for care by emergency physicians, so the correct diagnosis and triage of patients with chest pain in the emergency department(ED) becomes important. To avoid discharging patients with acute myocardial infarction(AMI) without medical care, most emergency physicians attempt to admit almost all patients with acute chest pain and order many laboratory tests for the patients. But in practice, many patients with non-cardiac pain can be discharged with simple tests and treatment. These patients occupy expensive intensive care beds, substantially increasing financial cost and time of stay at ED for the diagnosis and treatment of myocardial ischemia and AMI. Despite vigorous efforts to identify patients with ischemic heart disease, approximately 2% to 5% of patients presented to the ED with AMI and chest pain are inadvertently discharged. If the cause for the chest pain is known, rapid and accurate diagnosis can be implemented, preventing wastes in time and money and inadvertent discharge. Methods and Results: The medical records of 488 patients from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 1997 were reviewed. There were 320(angina pectoris 140, AMI 128) cases of cardiac diseases, and 168(atypical chest pain 56, pneumothorax 47) cases of non-cardiac diseases. The number of associated symptoms were 1.1+/-0.9 in non-cardiac diseases, 1.4+/-1.1 in cardiac diseases and 1.7+/-1.1 in AMI(p<0.05). In laboratory finding the sensitivity of electrocardiography(EKG) was 96.1%, while the sensitivity of myoglobin test ranked 45.1%. Admission rate was 71.6% in for cardiac diseases and 50.6% for non-cardiac diseases(p<0.01). Mortality rate was 8.8% in all cases, 13.8% in cardiac diseases, 0.6% in non-cardiac diseases, and 28.1% especially in AMI. CONCLUSION: In conclusion, all emergency physicians should have thorough knowledge of the clinical characteristics of the diseases which cause non-traumatic chest pain, because a patient with any of these life-threatening diseases would require immediate treatment. Detailed history on the patient should be taken and physical examination performed. Then, the most simple diagnostic approach should be used to make an early diagnosis and to provide treatment.
Key Words: Non-traumatic chest pain, Emergency department(ED)


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