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High-sensitivity cardiac troponin and the early rule out of myocardial infarction: time for action
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    Time for action in the broadest sense

    Given the fact that high-sensitivity cardiac troponin is a parameter prevalent, not only in acute myocardial infarction(AMI)(1), but also in close mimics of AMI such as pulmonary embolism(PE)(2) and dissecting aortic aneurysm(DAA)(3), respectively, it is now time for action to be taken to include point-of-care transthoracic echocardiography(TTE) in the algorithm for triaging patients who present with the association of chest pain and an electrocardiogram simulating ST segment elevation myocardial infarction(STEMI). PE subgroups with STEMI-like presentation and DAA subgroups with STEMI-like presentation are each likely to have subsets of subjects with TTE stigmata unique to PE(4) and to DAA(5), respectively, which enable them to be differentiated from subjects with AMI, thereby mitigating the risk of inappropriate percutaneous coronary intervention. When patients with suspected AMI are triaged towards the observation zone that should also be an opportunity to elicit stigmata that might favour a diagnosis of either PE or DAA. For PE those stigmata can be elicited by invoking the Wells clinical decision rule(6), and also by specifically looking for clinical stigmata of deep vein thrombosis(7), and even triggering a Doppler scan of the lower limbs(7), and where appropriate, the upper limbs as well.
    For DAA the "red flags" to look for include interarm blood pressure difference(8), the murmur of aortic regurgitation(9), and mediastinal widening(10)(11), the...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.