A Citywide Evaluation of Identification of Risk Factors for Cardiovascular Disease in Emergency Department Patients Complaining of Chest Pain

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Abstract of Journal Article -- March 2002  

By H.X. Nguyen, MD; T.E. Tenner, PhD; L.A. Jenkins, MD; H. Andrew Hansen II, MD; and L.O. Lutherer, MD, PhD  

The local division of the American Heart Association in Lubbock, Tex, conducted a cooperative study involving all three local hospitals to assess how effectively risk factors for cardiovascular disease are identified in patients presenting in the emergency departments with a complaint of chest pain. The charts of 250 consecutive patients with chest pain were reviewed for risk factors identified by the triage nurse and by the emergency department physician or the attending physician or both. Although the rate at which risk factors were identified was good, identification was neither complete nor comprehensive. Comparison with statistics for the general population showed that some risk factors were overreported, while others were markedly underreported. Each of the three specialties of health care professionals stressed different risk factors, and having all three involved markedly increased the level of identification. The data provide guidelines for improving risk factor identification, and the study led to the formation of strategic alliances among the different hospitals and health care professionals that should help improve secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease within the community.

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