Washington: Researchers have claimed that patients suffering long-lasting chest pain are likelier to have a heart attack than those with pain of a shorter duration.
James McCord, M.D., a cardiologist at Henry Ford Hospital on the research team, said that patients can experience varying strength, location, and duration of chest pain, asserting that the variety of symptoms any one patient may experience during a heart attack is a challenge to the physician who is trying to distinguish between patients who are having a heart attack and those who are not.
Of 426 patients included in the study, 38 (less than 9 percent) had a final diagnosis of heart attack, with average chest pain duration of 120 minutes, compared with 40 minutes in patients without heart attack.
In patients with chest pain lasting less than five minutes, there were no heart attacks and no deaths at 30 days.
McCord said that these findings suggest that patients with chest pain lasting less than five minutes may be evaluated as an out-patient in their doctor's office; while patients with chest pain greater than 5 minutes, without a clear cause, should seek prompt medical evaluation in an emergency department.
Patients were interviewed during the study to determine medical history and demographics. Those with a diagnosis of heart attack were significantly older.
The study has been published in Critical Pathways in Cardiology.