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A nurse-led rapid access chest pain clinic--experience from the first 3 years

, : A nurse-led rapid access chest pain clinic--experience from the first 3 years. European Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing 4(3): 227-233

The clinical presentation of chest pain is a major problem for primary health care professionals. Rapid access chest pain clinics (RACPC) enable quick assessment, investigation and formation of a treatment plan for such patients without a waiting list. There has been a chest pain clinic in operation at Harefield Hospital since 1988. Until 2001, the cardiology registrars were responsible for the clinic. Beginning in January 2001, the management of the clinic was taken over by the Cardiology Nurse Consultant. This paper will describe the organisation and outcomes of the first 3 years of this nurse-run RACPC. Patients are seen within 2 weeks of referral in line with the National Service Framework for Coronary Heart Disease [Department of Health. National service framework for coronary heart disease. London:Dept.of health; 2000.]. An electrocardiogram (ECG) is recorded on arrival in the clinic and the Nurse Consultant then examines the patients and decides if further investigation is required. Four hundred and fifty-four patients were seen in the clinic from January 2001--December 2003. Three hundred and twenty-four patients (71.4%) underwent exercise testing of which 54 (16.7%) had a positive result. One hundred and thirteen patients (24.9%) were referred for angiography. Of these, 75 (66.4%) had coronary heart disease. Thirty-three patients (29.2%) have undergone percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) and 19 (16.8%) have required coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG). Twenty-three patients (20.4%) are being treated medically. Satisfaction with the service offered by the clinic was high, evidenced by the results of questionnaires sent to patients. This paper demonstrates that nurses can successfully run RACPCs without an increased risk of incorrect diagnosis. These clinics offer patients timely access to assessment of their chest pain and facilitate early diagnosis of cardiac disease. They are also well accepted by the patients attending the clinic.


PMID: 15927530

DOI: 10.1016/j.ejcnurse.2005.03.003

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