Patients with non-specific chest pain accounts for about half of all emergency admissions to coronary care units in hospitals. It has previously been assumed that it was relatively safe to send these patients home after admission, as the risk of being struck by a heart attack shortly supposed to be small.
Mette Jensen Stochkendahl has tested this assumption in collaboration with cardiologists at Odense University. The research group has studied if measuring the blood flow in the heart in patients with nonspecific chest pain can be used to predict future heart attack. The results showed that it was safe to send most of the patients home. A small group, however, had decreased blood flow in the heart, and this group had 7 times higher risk of heart attack than patients with normal flow. The study also showed that the clinical findings that are commonly used to predict the risk of heart attack could not be used to identify the group of high risk patients.
The patients were followed over a 4-year period, and the results are based on data about hospital admissions from the National Patient Registry, one of the unique Danish registries compared to the rest of the world. The registries enables researchers to follow large groups of people over a long time and thus determine for example risk for future disease, without compromising anybody’s anonymity.
The study was part of a larger project on different types of examination and treatment of patients with non-specific chest pain, and it resulted in a research article in the leading international journal International Journal of Cardiology.
In a future article, the research group has used data from the National Health Registry to describe the economic consequences of offering chiropractic treatment to a subgroup of patients.
Stochkendahl MJ, Mickley H, Vach W, Aziz A, Christensen HW, Hartvigsen J, Høilund-Carlsen PF. Clinical characteristics, myocardial perfusion deficits, and clinical outcomes of patients with non-specific chest pain hospitalized for suspected acute coronary syndrome: A 4-year prospective cohort study. International Journal of Cardiology. 2015;182:126-131.