This study compared the cost-effectiveness of dobutamine-atropine stress echocardiography (DASE) and electrocardiographic exercise testing (EET) implemented in emergency department accelerated diagnostic protocols for the early stratification of low-risk patients presenting with acute chest pain (ACP). One hundred ninety-nine patients with ACP, nondiagnostic electrocardiographic results, and negative biomarker results were randomized to DASE (n = 110) or EET (n = 89) <6 hours after emergency department presentation. Patients with negative risk assessment results were immediately discharged and followed for 2 months. Ninety patients (82%) in the DASE arm and 78 (88%) in the EET arm were discharged after the diagnosis of nonischemic ACP. The mean lengths of stay in the hospital were 23 ± 12 and 31 ± 23 hours in the DASE and EET arms, respectively (p = 0.01). No 2-month follow-up events occurred in DASE patients, and the event rate was significantly higher in EET patients (0% vs 11%, p = 0.004). The DASE strategy showed lower costs compared with the EET strategy at 1-month ($1,026 ± $250 vs $1,329 ± $1,288, p = 0.03) and 2-month ($1,029 ± 253 vs $1,684 ± $2,149, p = 0.005) follow-up. In conclusion, early DASE in emergency department triage of low-risk patients with ACP is safe and reduces costs of care compared to EET.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine