MEDICAL PODCAST: “ASSESSING CHEST PAIN” (BMJ)

Chest pain is a common chief complaint. It may be caused by either benign or life-threatening aetiologies and is usually divided into cardiac and non-cardiac causes. James E. Brown, Professor and Chair, Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine, Kettering, Ohio, gives us an overview of assessing chest pain in the emergency setting. 

COMMENTARY

Dr. James E Brown of the Wright State school Of medicine in Kettering Ohio gave a very interesting discussion of chest pain.

One interesting takeaway is the value of a very experienced clinician dealing with large volumes of emergency room patients. This would make telemedicine with an emergency room hub in a teaching center a very attractive platform.

The consultant doctor in the center has the advantage of his vast experience in rapidly narrowing down the heterogeneous list of different diagnoses that must be considered- the “differential diagnosis”.

Dr. Brown mentioned the “gestalt”, the incorporation of subjective features such as facial and voice cues which add to the objective parameters in patient evaluation. This of course would be amenable to telemedicine although other old-time clinical information like the changes in breath sounds would be more favorable to conventional in-person evaluation.

Ultrasound would More easily be done locally as well.

An interesting take away from this discussion is the value of The patient’s history and past laboratory data, so undervalued by rushed modern doctors. For instance, Electronic medical records (EMR) could provide past history or a previous electrocardiogram for comparison.

Dr. Brown favors the division of chest pain causes into cardiac and non-cardiac. It is easy  to develop tunnel vision and look at the patient only as a possible coronary thrombosis. In fact it is better to Rapidly consider the non-cardiac causes that would demand immediate attention while waiting for the results of the Troponin-T test.

For instance pulmonary embolism, aortic dissection, tension pneumothorax, cardiac Tamponade should be considered.

These considerations should be running through the head of the clinician as the IV,  EKG, and pulse oximetry are being set up.

In addition to the Troponin-T, bedside ultrasound, and Higher “slice count” CAT machines, and higher “Tesla” MRIs  are becoming available major centers which could support small emergency rooms.

If there is One place where “the Flow” would be Appropriate it would be in the mind of the emergency room doctor evaluating acute chest pain.
I have a hard time imagining artificial intelligence endangering her job.

—Dr. C.

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