Follow-up study of patients admitted to the pediatric emergency department for chest pain

  • Valentina Gesuete
  • Davide Fregolent
  • Sarah Contorno
  • Gianluca Tamaro
  • Egidio Barbi
  • Giorgio Cozzi
Original Article


Chest pain is a relatively common cause of admission to the Emergency Department, being related in most of the cases to benign conditions with only a minority of the cases affected by heart disease. Limited data are available about the follow up of these patients in terms of risk of recurrence of symptoms, Emergency Department re-admissions, level of impairment, and school absenteeism. We identified 761 children who visited our ED with the chief complaint of chest pain, equal to 0.68% of all admissions. Twenty-four patients were excluded for a previous history of cardiac disease. Eight (1%) patients were determined to have chest pain of cardiac origin. Ninety-seven percent of patients were successfully contacted by telephone: 69% agreed to answer the questionnaire. Of these, 33% experienced recurrent chest pain, up to 41% was forced to be absent from school, about 20% was limited in its daily activities, and about 20% repeated a cardiologic evaluation.

Conclusion: Chest pain is mainly due to benign causes and is a recurrent symptom in a high percentage of patients, associated with re-admission and school absenteeism.

What is Known:

Chest pain is a relatively common cause of admission to the Emergency Department.

It is mainly due to benign causes and is among the most common reasons for referral to the pediatric cardiologist.

What is New:

Chest pain is a recurrent symptom associated with re-admission and school absenteeism.

As a family history of cardiac disease or exertional symptoms are a well-known red flag for chest pain of cardiac origin, school absenteeism should be considered a red flag for symptoms related to psychological distress in patients with non-cardiac chest pain


Chest pain Children Pediatric emergency department 



Emergency department



We thank Dr. Martina Bradaschia for the review of this manuscript.

Authors’ contributions

V Gesuete: project development, data collection and management, manuscript writing

D Fregolent: data collection

S Contorno: data collection

G Tamaro: data collection

E Barbi: project development, manuscript editing

G Cozzi: manuscript editing

Compliance with ethical statements

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cardiology ServiceInstitute for Maternal and Child Health - IRCCS “Burlo Garofolo”TriesteItaly
  2. 2.University of TriesteTriesteItaly
  3. 3.Pediatric Emergency DepartmentInstitute for Maternal and Child Health - IRCCS “Burlo Garofolo”TriesteItaly

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