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A rapid access cardiology service for chest pain, heart failure and arrhythmias accurately diagnoses cardiac disease and identifies patients at high risk: a prospective cohort study
  1. J N Tenkorang1,
  2. K F Fox2,
  3. T J Collier3,
  4. D A Wood2
  1. 1Charing Cross Hospital, London, UK
  2. 2Imperial College, London, UK
  3. 3London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr Kevin F Fox
    5th Floor Lab Block, Charing Cross Hospital, Fulham Palace Road, London W6 8RF, UK;{at}


Objective: To conduct a one year follow up study of patients seen in a combined rapid access chest pain, arrhythmia and heart failure clinic.

Methods: Local general practitioners, accident and emergency department clinicians and other hospital clinicians were invited to refer patients with a new presentation of chest pain, palpitations and suspected cardiac-induced breathlessness to the rapid access cardiology clinics at Charing Cross Hospital, London, on a one-stop, no appointment basis. Consent to be followed up by a postal questionnaire one year later was sought from all patients attending between 1 November 2002 and 31 October 2003.

Results: 1223 patients were seen in the 12 month study period. 940 (77%) consented to one year follow up. 216 (23%) patients had a diagnosis of definite cardiac, 621 (66%) of not cardiac and 103 of possible cardiac disease (11%). 98% of patients diagnosed “not cardiac” did not receive a diagnosis of cardiac disease over the following 12 months. Of patients with diagnosed definite cardiac disease, one year cardiac mortality was 7 of 216 (3%), compared with an age- and sex-matched expected cardiac mortality of 0.9% (standardised mortality ratio 3.5, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.4 to 7.2). For patients with an initial diagnosis of possible or not cardiac disease, cardiac mortality at one year was 0.3% compared with an expected cardiac mortality of 0.4% (standardised mortality ratio 0.8, 95% CI 0.1 to 2.8).

Conclusions: A rapid access cardiology clinic accurately diagnoses and risk stratifies patients into those with cardiac disease at high risk of cardiac death and those without significant cardiac disease.

  • ACE, angiotensin converting enzyme
  • NICE, National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence
  • ONS, Office For National Statistics
  • PPV, positive predictive value
  • RAAC, rapid access arrhythmia clinic
  • RACPC, rapid access chest pain clinic
  • RAHFC, rapid access heart failure clinic
  • arrhythmia
  • chest pain
  • heart failure
  • rapid access clinic

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  • Published Online First 30 December 2005

  • Support: Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) collaborative.

  • Conflicts of interest: None declared.

  • Ethics: Riverside Research Ethics Committee approved.