New Test To Reduce Chest Pain Admissions By 40%
Currently, 10% of all patients who go to NHS Accident and Emergency departments go because of chest pains, but the number who have actually suffered a heart attack is far lower. The new faster protocol, which involves a blood test, could slash the number of patients who are currently admitted with symptoms that suggest a possible heart attack. At the moment it can take up to 12 hours for patients to find out if there is evidence of a heart attack in their blood.
The research was conducted by Bournemouth University’s Dr Edward Carlton, who used the symptoms described by patients, ECG heart tracing and the new blood test, which is called high sensitivity troponin, to offer a faster way of showing that a heart attack had not occurred.
On the face of it, it is not a new concept to use a blood test to help to discount the possibility of a heart attack having taken place, but it has not always been possible to discharge, with a high level of confidence, a high proportion of patients without making them wait for the results of a second test. This new way of testing could mean that up to 40% of patients could be dispatched without the need for further testing.
By reducing the number of patients waiting for a second test and increasing the work load for staff, this new diagnostic technique should help to reduce the strain on A&E departments and help them to achieve the target of seeing 95% of patients within 4 hours of arriving at a hospital.
Dr Edward Carlton said, “We were really pleased with the findings of the research as we have shown that our simple but novel diagnostic strategy can potentially reduce the increasing burden on hospitals.
“It is my hope that this diagnostic tool can be used widely within hospitals in the UK to rule out heart attacks, allay the fears of patients and improve productivity within hospitals. This is important research in improving patient care for patients in the NHS and another exciting discovery for Bournemouth University.”