, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 168-176
Date: 29 Dec 2010

The potential role for the use of cardiac computed tomography angiography for the acute chest pain patient in the emergency department

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Introduction

Chest pain is one of the most common chief complaints for patients who present to the emergency department. The clinical presentation of chest pain can be highly variable and encompasses a wide spectrum of syndromes. The correct identification of patients who have a life-threatening cardiac cause of chest pain enables early intervention, preservation of viable myocardium, and improved outcomes. Furthermore, prevention of unnecessary hospital admissions for chest pain limits the associated morbidities and costs of hospitalization. This makes chest pain one of the most challenging clinical presentations facing the emergency department physician. The purpose of the following review is to explore the potential role of cardiac computed tomography (CT) in the evaluation of acute chest syndromes in the emergency department.

Magnitude of Problem

The National Center for Health Statistics reports that there were 4,497,000 visits in 2004 to United States emergency departments for cardio ...