Coronary CT angiography for acute chest pain in the emergency department.

Acute chest pain in the emergency department (ED) is a common and costly public health challenge. The traditional strategy of evaluating acute chest pain by hospital or ED observation over a period of several hours, serial electrocardiography and cardiac biomarkers, and subsequent diagnostic testing such as physiologic stress testing is safe and effective. Yet this approach has been criticized for being time intensive and costly. This review evaluates the current medical evidence which has demonstrated the potential for coronary CT angiography (CTA) assessment of acute chest pain to safely reduce ED cost, time to discharge, and rate of hospital admission. These benefits must be weighed against the risk of ionizing radiation exposure and the influence of ED testing on rates of downstream coronary angiography and revascularization. Efforts at radiation minimization have quickly evolved, implementing technology such as prospective electrocardiographic gating and high pitch acquisition to significantly reduce radiation exposure over just a few years. CTA in the ED has demonstrated accuracy, safety, and the ability to reduce ED cost and crowding although its big-picture effect on total hospital and health care system cost extends far beyond the ED. The net effect of CTA is dependent also on the prevalence of coronary artery disease (CAD) in the population where CTA is used, which significantly influences rates of post-CTA invasive procedures such as angiography and coronary revascularization. These potential costs and benefits will warrant careful consideration and prospective monitoring as additional hospitals continue to implement this important technology into their diagnostic regimen.
AuthorsHenrique Lane Staniak, Marcio Sommer Bittencourt, Christopher Pickett, Michael Cahill, David Kassop, Ahmad Slim, Ron Blankstein, Edward Hulten
JournalJournal of cardiovascular computed tomography (J Cardiovasc Comput Tomogr) 2014 Sep-Oct Vol. 8 Issue 5 Pg. 359-67 ISSN: 1876-861X [Electronic] United States
PMID25301041 (Publication Type: Journal Article, Review)
CopyrightPublished by Elsevier Inc.
  • Acute Disease
  • Chest Pain (radiography)
  • Coronary Angiography (methods)
  • Coronary Artery Disease (radiography)
  • Emergency Service, Hospital (organization & administration)
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay
  • Radiography, Thoracic (methods)
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed (methods)

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