Deborah B. Diercks, J. Douglas Kirk, and Ezra A. Amsterdam
Chest pain units provide an important alternative to traditional hospital admission for patients who present to the emergency department with symptoms compatible with acute coronary syndrome and a normal or inconclusive initial evaluation. Although patient subgroups such as women, diabetics, those with established coronary artery disease, and those with symptoms related to stimulant use present unique challenges, management in a chest pain unit appears to be appropriate in these populations. Judicious application of accelerated diagnostic protocols and current testing methods can promote safe, accurate, and cost-effective risk stratification of special populations to identify patients who can be safely discharged and patients who require hospital admission for further evaluation.
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