In a recent study, researchers have created a new tool to test if chest pain is a sign of heart problems
Previous studies have shown that chest pain sometimes can be a sign of heart health problems. But often it is hard to tell accurately.
In the current study, the team examined more than 10,000 people with stable chest pain. The participants were enrolled from 193 sites in North America.
All of the participants did not have coronary heart disease but experienced chest pain.
In the study, these people took either an exercise stress test (often with an imaging study of heart blood flow or function) or a CT scan of the coronary arteries.
The team found both tests could identify heart problems, but about 1 in 4 participants had completely normal results.
They then created an online risk prediction tool using 10 clinical variables that are commonly used by a physician during a medical exam.
The 10 clinical variables included younger age; female sex; racial or ethnic minority; no history of high blood pressure, diabetes, dyslipidemia or family history of premature coronary artery disease; never smoking; symptoms unrelated to physical exertion or stress; and higher HDL cholesterol.
The team found the online tool could accurately predict which patients are likely to have normal non-invasive tests and remain free of cardiac events.
The tool took only one minute to make the decision.
The researchers suggest their finding could lead to better decision making in primary care doctors.
The new tool will enable doctors to identify patients at minimal risk for heart issues.
With results from the online test, patients can have a discussion with their doctors about their heart health.
They can decide whether a follow-up appointment with primary care or cardiology is a more appropriate step.
The study is published in JAMA Cardiology.
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