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Coronary artery disease
Long-term outcome of low-risk patients attending a rapid-assessment chest pain clinic
  1. G L Taylor1,
  2. N F Murphy1,2,
  3. C Berry1,
  4. J Christie3,
  5. A Finlayson4,
  6. K MacIntyre5,
  7. C Morrison6,
  8. J McMurray1
  1. 1
    Department of Cardiology, Western Infirmary, Glasgow, UK
  2. 2
    St Vincent’s University Hospital, Dublin, Ireland
  3. 3
    Department of Clinical Physics and Bio-Engineering, Western Infirmary, Glasgow, UK
  4. 4
    Information Services, Gyle Square, Edinburgh, UK
  5. 5
    Public Health and Health Policy, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK
  6. 6
    NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Board, Glasgow, UK
  1. Professor John J V McMurray, Department of Cardiology, Western Infirmary, Glasgow G11 6NT, and Faculty of Medicine, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G12 8QQ, UK; j.mcmurray{at}


Objective: To examine the long-term outcome of patients evaluated in a rapid assessment chest pain clinic (RACPC): are “low-risk” patients safely reassured?

Design: Retrospective cohort study.

Setting: Staff grade-led RACPC in an urban teaching hospital.

Participants: 3378 patients (51% male), attending the RACPC between April 1996 and February 2000.

Main outcome measures: Death, coronary mortality, morbidity and revascularisation over a median follow-up of 6 years. Coronary standardised mortality ratio (SMR).

Results: 2036 (60.3%) patients were categorised as “low risk”, 957 (28.3%) as having “stable coronary artery disease” and 214 (6.3%) as being an “acute coronary syndrome”. During the study, 3.6% of patients in the low risk category, 11.9% in the stable coronary artery disease category and 24.6% in the acute coronary syndrome category died from coronary artery disease or had a myocardial infarction. 5.5%, 18.2% and 18.4%, respectively, died from any cause. Compared to the local population (coronary SMR  = 100), our “low risk/non-coronary chest pain” cohort had a coronary SMR of 51 (95% CI 31 to 83), the “stable coronary artery disease” cohort 240 (187 to 308) and the “acute coronary syndrome” cohort 780 (509 to 1196).

Conclusion: The RACPC was effective at triaging patients with chest pain. Patients identified as at “low risk” were unlikely to have an adverse coronary outcome and were appropriately reassured.

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  • Funding: This study was an audit and had no specific funding. NM was funded by the British Heart Foundation.

  • Competing interests: None.

  • Ethics approval: Audit using anonymous patient data.

  • Contributors and guarantors: GT, CB, NM and JMcM designed the study. JC and AF extracted the data. GT and NM carried out the analysis. All authors contributed to the data interpretation and writing. GT, NM and JMcM are guarantors.