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Health Agencies Update
December 15, 1999

Heart Attack Triage

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JAMA. 1999;282(23):2201. doi:10.1001/jama.282.23.2201

A new imaging test that shows whether blood flow to the heart is compromised may help emergency physicians confirm or rule out myocardial infarction in patients who present with chest pain but who have a normal or nondiagnostic electrocardiogram, researchers reported at the American Heart Association's annual meeting last month.

The $4.4-million multicenter ERASE Chest Pain Trial was funded by the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research and led by researchers from New England Medical Center and Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston. The study is the first prospective trial testing whether cardiac imaging using sestamibi (a radionuclide tracer) could help physicians determine whether patients with suspected acute cardiac ischemia have normal cardiac blood flow and may safely be sent home rather than admitted to the hospital.

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