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Medical News & Perspectives
July 13, 2005

Experts Promote Adoption of Chest Pain Guidelines by Emergency Departments

JAMA. 2005;294(2):164-165. doi:10.1001/jama.294.2.164

Although rapid assessment by emergency physicians is vital in treating patients presenting with chest pain and other signs of acute coronary syndrome, the ambiguity surrounding symptoms can delay or result in suboptimal treatment. But while guidelines to help physicians in this task were created in 2002, they have not been widely adopted.

To address this situation, the American Heart Association (AHA) and the Society of Chest Pain Centers issued a scientific statement on May 24 offering some practical measures to help emergency physicians incorporate established, evidence-based guidelines to quickly evaluate and treat unstable angina/non–ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (UA/NSTEMI) into clinical practice. These include templates for forms that can be used in the emergency department to evaluate patients with chest pain, an algorithm to speed assessment, and a standing order set to improve use of approved therapies (Gibler et al. Circulation. 2005;111:2699-2710).