WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. June 10, 2013 Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center doctors have found that using stress cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) imaging in an Emergency Department observation unit to care for patients with acute chest pain is a win-win for the patient and the institution.
In a small, single-center clinical trial, Chadwick Miller, M.D., M.S., and colleagues found that evaluating older, more complex patients in the observation unit with stress cardiac MRI, as opposed to usual inpatient care, reduced hospital readmissions, coronary revascularization procedures and the need for additional cardiac testing.
The observation unit is an area of the Emergency Department designed for short stays longer than a typical ED visit, said Miller, but shorter than a hospital admission. Cardiac MRI is a type of heart testing that uses magnetic forces to capture pictures of the heart.
"We were looking at the optimum way to evaluate people with chest pain and focusing on those patients who are generally older, have many risk factors for coronary disease or may have had prior health problems, basically the intermediate to higher risk population," Miller said. "At most hospitals in the United States, after evaluation in the emergency department, these patients are admitted to the hospital to complete their care."
The study appears online this month ahead of print in the journal JACC: Cardiovascular Imaging.
Miller, who serves as director of clinical research and executive vice-chair of Emergency Medicine at Wake Forest Baptist, said the study built on previous research findings that more complex patients managed in an observation unit with stress CMR testing experienced a reduction in care costs of about $2,100 per patient per year. For the new study, the researchers wanted to specifically look at three care events: coronary revascularization, hospital readmissions and additional heart testing.
|Contact: Bonnie Davis|
Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center