Pre-hospital risk assessment in suspected non-ST-elevation acute coronary syndrome: A prospective observational study

D.N. van Dongen, R.T. Tolsma, M.J. Fokkert, E.A. Badings, A. van der Sluis, R.J. Slingerland, A.W.J. van 't Hof, J.P. Ottervanger*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background:Pre-hospital risk stratification of non-ST-elevation acute coronary syndrome (NSTE-ACS) by the complete HEART score has not yet been assessed. We investigated whether pre-hospital risk stratification of patients with suspected NSTE-ACS using the HEART score is accurate in predicting major adverse cardiac events (MACE).Methods:This is a prospective observational study, including 700 patients with suspected NSTE-ACS. Risk stratification was performed by ambulance paramedics, using the HEART score; low risk was defined as HEART score <= 3. Primary endpoint was occurrence of MACE within 45 days after inclusion. Secondary endpoint was myocardial infarction or death.Results:A total of 172 patients (24.6%) were stratified as low risk and 528 patients (75.4%) as intermediate to high risk. Mean age was 53.9 years in the low risk group and 66.7 years in the intermediate to high risk group (p<0.001), 50% were male in the low risk group versus 60% in the intermediate to high risk group (p=0.026). MACE occurred in five patients in the low risk group (2.9%) and in 111 (21.0%) patients at intermediate or high risk (p<0.001). There were no deaths in the low risk group and the occurrence of acute myocardial infarction in this group was 1.2%. In the high risk group six patients died (1.1%) and 76 patients had myocardial infarction (14.4%).Conclusions:In suspected NSTE-ACS, pre-hospital risk stratification by ambulance paramedics, including troponin measurement, is accurate in differentiating between low and intermediate to high risk. Future studies should investigate whether transportation of low risk patients to a hospital can be avoided, and whether high risk patients benefit from immediate transfer to a hospital with early coronary angiography possibilities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-12
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Heart Journal: Acute Cardiovascular Care
Issue number1_SUPPL
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2020


  • care
  • chest-pain patients
  • emergency-department
  • ems
  • grace
  • heart score
  • heart-score
  • management
  • nste-acs
  • paramedics
  • pre-hospital
  • rules
  • timi
  • validation
  • CARE
  • HEART-score
  • EMS
  • TIMI

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