William Brady, Katya de Souza

Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, 22908, VA, United States

Keywords: Chest pain; Emergency department; Acute coronary syndrome; Risk stratification; HEART score; Decision rules


Chest pain is one of the most common, potentially serious presenting complaints for adult emergency department (ED) visits. The challenge of acute coronary syndrome (ACS) identification with appropriate disposition is quite significant. Many of these patients are low risk and can be managed non-urgently in the outpatient environment; other patients, however, are intermediate to high risk for ACS and should be managed more aggressively, likely with inpatient admission and cardiology consultation. The HEART score, a recently derived clinical decision rule aimed at the identification of risk in the undifferentiated chest pain patient, is potentially quite useful as an adjunct to physician medical decision-making. The HEART score identifies patients at low, intermediate, and high risk for short-term adverse outcome resulting from ACS. As is true of all such clinical decision rules, the physician should consider the information provided the HEART score yet exercise clinical judgment in the ultimate determination of management strategy in the adult chest pain patient suspected of ACS.