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

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European Journal of Pediatrics Aims and scope Submit manuscript


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

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

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Authors and Affiliations



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

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest

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

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Communicated by Peter de Winter

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Gesuete, V., Fregolent, D., Contorno, S. et al. Follow-up study of patients admitted to the pediatric emergency department for chest pain. Eur J Pediatr 179, 303–308 (2020).

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