Are we appropriately triaging patients with unstable angina?

Mardi Gomberg-Maitland, Sabina A. Murphy, David J. Moliterno, Christopher P. Cannon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Background: It is uncertain how aggressively patients should be monitored and admitted to the hospital for chest pain syndromes and if the monitoring itself affects patient care, process, or outcomes. We assessed the appropriateness of care based on retrospective analysis of admission bed assignment (nonmonitored vs monitored) and Thrombolysis in Myocardial Infarction (TIMI) risk score in patients from the Global Unstable Angina Registry and Treatment Evaluation (GUARANTEE) Registry. Methods: Baseline characteristics, process of care, and outcomes were compared among 2939 patients admitted to 1 of 35 hospitals in the United States. Patients were stratified into low (0-2), intermediate (3 or 4), and high (5-7) risk based on TIMI risk score. Results: Among the patients, 92 (3%) were admitted to the cardiac care unit (CCU), 1602 (56%) were admitted to the telemetry unit, and 1163 (41%) were admitted to an unmonitored bed. Paradoxically, high-risk patients comprised only 1% of those in the CCU, 5% of those in telemetry, and 10% of those in nonmonitored units. Conversely, low-risk patients were 64% of those in the CCU, 53% of those in telemetry, and 42% of those in unmonitored beds. Procedures were done more often on patients admitted to nonmonitored units than those on telemetry or in the CCU irrespective of TIMI risk score. Conclusions: This registry suggests that triage of patients does not routinely follow the risk-based approach suggested in the American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association guidelines and could therefore potentially lead to inefficiencies in care. Better implementation of risk stratification for acute coronary syndrome evaluation and management is necessary.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)613-618
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Heart Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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