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1.  Ruling out coronary heart disease in primary care patients with chest pain: a clinical prediction score 
BMC Medicine  2010;8:9.
Chest pain raises concern for the possibility of coronary heart disease. Scoring methods have been developed to identify coronary heart disease in emergency settings, but not in primary care.
Data were collected from a multicenter Swiss clinical cohort study including 672 consecutive patients with chest pain, who had visited one of 59 family practitioners' offices. Using delayed diagnosis we derived a prediction rule to rule out coronary heart disease by means of a logistic regression model. Known cardiovascular risk factors, pain characteristics, and physical signs associated with coronary heart disease were explored to develop a clinical score. Patients diagnosed with angina or acute myocardial infarction within the year following their initial visit comprised the coronary heart disease group.
The coronary heart disease score was derived from eight variables: age, gender, duration of chest pain from 1 to 60 minutes, substernal chest pain location, pain increasing with exertion, absence of tenderness point at palpation, cardiovascular risks factors, and personal history of cardiovascular disease. Area under the receiver operating characteristics curve was of 0.95 with a 95% confidence interval of 0.92; 0.97. From this score, 413 patients were considered as low risk for values of percentile 5 of the coronary heart disease patients. Internal validity was confirmed by bootstrapping. External validation using data from a German cohort (Marburg, n = 774) revealed a receiver operating characteristics curve of 0.75 (95% confidence interval, 0.72; 0.81) with a sensitivity of 85.6% and a specificity of 47.2%.
This score, based only on history and physical examination, is a complementary tool for ruling out coronary heart disease in primary care patients complaining of chest pain.
PMCID: PMC2832616  PMID: 20092615
2.  Ruling out coronary artery disease in primary care: development and validation of a simple prediction rule 
Chest pain can be caused by various conditions, with life-threatening cardiac disease being of greatest concern. Prediction scores to rule out coronary artery disease have been developed for use in emergency settings. We developed and validated a simple prediction rule for use in primary care.
We conducted a cross-sectional diagnostic study in 74 primary care practices in Germany. Primary care physicians recruited all consecutive patients who presented with chest pain (n = 1249) and recorded symptoms and findings for each patient (derivation cohort). An independent expert panel reviewed follow-up data obtained at six weeks and six months on symptoms, investigations, hospital admissions and medications to determine the presence or absence of coronary artery disease. Adjusted odds ratios of relevant variables were used to develop a prediction rule. We calculated measures of diagnostic accuracy for different cut-off values for the prediction scores using data derived from another prospective primary care study (validation cohort).
The prediction rule contained five determinants (age/sex, known vascular disease, patient assumes pain is of cardiac origin, pain is worse during exercise, and pain is not reproducible by palpation), with the score ranging from 0 to 5 points. The area under the curve (receiver operating characteristic curve) was 0.87 (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.83–0.91) for the derivation cohort and 0.90 (95% CI 0.87–0.93) for the validation cohort. The best overall discrimination was with a cut-off value of 3 (positive result 3–5 points; negative result ≤ 2 points), which had a sensitivity of 87.1% (95% CI 79.9%–94.2%) and a specificity of 80.8% (77.6%–83.9%).
The prediction rule for coronary artery disease in primary care proved to be robust in the validation cohort. It can help to rule out coronary artery disease in patients presenting with chest pain in primary care.
PMCID: PMC2934794  PMID: 20603345
3.  Heartburn or angina? Differentiating gastrointestinal disease in primary care patients presenting with chest pain: a cross sectional diagnostic study 
Gastrointestinal (GI) disease is one of the leading aetiologies of chest pain in a primary care setting. The aims of the study are to describe clinical characteristics of GI disease causing chest pain and to provide criteria for clinical diagnosis.
We included 1212 consecutive patients with chest pain aged 35 years and older attending 74 general practitioners (GPs). GPs recorded symptoms and findings of each patient and provided follow up information. An independent interdisciplinary reference panel reviewed clinical data of each patient and decided about the aetiology of chest pain. Multivariable regression analysis was performed to identify clinical predictors that help to rule in or out the diagnosis of GI disease and Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD).
GI disease was diagnosed in 5.8% and GERD in 3.5% of all patients. Most patients localised the pain retrosternal (71.8% for GI disease and 83.3% for GERD). Pain worse with food intake and retrosternal pain radiation were associated positively with both GI disease and GERD; retrosternal pain localisation, vomiting, burning pain, epigastric pain and an average pain episode < 1 hour were associated positively only with GI disease. Negative associations were found for localized muscle tension (GI disease and GERD) and pain getting worse on exercise, breathing, movement and pain location on left side (only GI disease).
This study broadens the knowledge about the diagnostic accuracy of selected signs and symptoms for GI disease and GERD and provides criteria for primary care practitioners in rational diagnosis.
PMCID: PMC2799444  PMID: 20003376
4.  Diagnostic performance of reproducible chest wall tenderness to rule out acute coronary syndrome in acute chest pain: a prospective diagnostic study 
BMJ Open  2015;5(1):e007442.
Acute chest pain (ACP) is a leading cause of hospital emergency unit consultation. As there are various underlying conditions, ranging from musculoskeletal disorders to acute coronary syndrome (ACS), thorough clinical diagnostics are warranted. The aim of this prospective study was to assess whether reproducible chest wall tenderness (CWT) on palpation in patients with ACP can help to rule out ACS.
In this prospective, double-blinded diagnostic study, all consecutive patients assessed in the emergency unit at the University Hospital Zurich because of ACP between July 2012 and December 2013 were included when a member of the study team was present. Reproducible CWT on palpation was the initial step and was recorded before further examinations were initiated. The final diagnosis was adjudicated by a study-independent physician.
121 patients (60.3% male, median age 47 years, IQR 34–66.5 years) were included. The prevalence of ACS was 11.6%. Non-reproducible CWT had a high sensitivity of 92.9% (95% CI 66.1% to 98.8%) for ACS and the presence of reproducible CWT ruled out ACS (p=0.003) with a high negative predictive value (98.1%, 95% CI 89.9% to 99.7%). Conversely non-reproducible CWT ruled in ACS with low specificity (48.6%, 95% CI 38.8% to 58.5%) and low positive predictive value (19.1%, 95% CI 10.6% to 30.5%).
This prospective diagnostic study supports the concept that reproducible CWT helps to rule out ACS in patients with ACP in an early stage of the evaluation process. However, ACS and other diagnoses should be considered in patients with a negative CWT test.
Trial registration number NCT01724996.
PMCID: PMC4316553  PMID: 25631316
chest wall tenderness; acute chest pain; thoracic pain; emergency admission
5.  Coronary heart disease in primary care: accuracy of medical history and physical findings in patients with chest pain – a study protocol for a systematic review with individual patient data 
BMC Family Practice  2012;13:81.
Chest pain is a common complaint in primary care, with coronary heart disease (CHD) being the most concerning of many potential causes. Systematic reviews on the sensitivity and specificity of symptoms and signs summarize the evidence about which of them are most useful in making a diagnosis. Previous meta-analyses are dominated by studies of patients referred to specialists. Moreover, as the analysis is typically based on study-level data, the statistical analyses in these reviews are limited while meta-analyses based on individual patient data can provide additional information. Our patient-level meta-analysis has three unique aims. First, we strive to determine the diagnostic accuracy of symptoms and signs for myocardial ischemia in primary care. Second, we investigate associations between study- or patient-level characteristics and measures of diagnostic accuracy. Third, we aim to validate existing clinical prediction rules for diagnosing myocardial ischemia in primary care. This article describes the methods of our study and six prospective studies of primary care patients with chest pain. Later articles will describe the main results.
We will conduct a systematic review and IPD meta-analysis of studies evaluating the diagnostic accuracy of symptoms and signs for diagnosing coronary heart disease in primary care. We will perform bivariate analyses to determine the sensitivity, specificity and likelihood ratios of individual symptoms and signs and multivariate analyses to explore the diagnostic value of an optimal combination of all symptoms and signs based on all data of all studies. We will validate existing clinical prediction rules from each of the included studies by calculating measures of diagnostic accuracy separately by study.
Our study will face several methodological challenges. First, the number of studies will be limited. Second, the investigators of original studies defined some outcomes and predictors differently. Third, the studies did not collect the same standard clinical data set. Fourth, missing data, varying from partly missing to fully missing, will have to be dealt with.
Despite these limitations, we aim to summarize the available evidence regarding the diagnostic accuracy of symptoms and signs for diagnosing CHD in patients presenting with chest pain in primary care.
Review registration
Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (University of York): CRD42011001170
PMCID: PMC3545850  PMID: 22877212
MeSH; Chest pain; Myocardial ischemia; Medical history taking; Sensitivity and specificity; Primary health care
6.  Accuracy of symptoms and signs for coronary heart disease assessed in primary care 
The British Journal of General Practice  2010;60(575):e246-e257.
Diagnosing the aetiology of chest pain is challenging. There is still a lack of data on the diagnostic accuracy of signs and symptoms for acute coronary events in low-prevalence settings.
To evaluate the diagnostic accuracy of symptoms and signs in patients presenting to general practice with chest pain.
Design of study
Cross-sectional diagnostic study with delayed-type reference standard.
Seventy-four general practices in Germany.
The study included 1249 consecutive patients presenting with chest pain. Data were reviewed by an independent reference panel, with coronary heart disease (CHD) and an indication for urgent hospital admission as reference conditions. Main outcome measures were sensitivity, specificity, likelihood ratio, predictive value, and odds ratio (OR) for non-trauma patients with a reference diagnosis.
Several signs and symptoms showed strong associations with CHD, including known vascular disease (OR = 5.13; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 2.83 to 9.30), pain worse on exercise (OR = 4.27; 95% CI = 2.31 to 7.88), patient assumes cardiac origin of pain (OR = 3.20; 95% CI = 1.53 to 6.60), cough present (OR = 0.08; 95% CI = 0.01 to 0.77), and pain reproducible on palpation (OR = 0.27; 95% CI = 0.13 to 0.56). For urgent hospital admission, effective criteria included pain radiating to the left arm (OR = 8.81; 95% CI = 2.58 to 30.05), known clinical vascular disease (OR = 7.50; 95% CI = 2.88 to 19.55), home visit requested (OR = 7.31; 95% CI = 2.27 to 23.57), and known heart failure (OR = 3.53; 95% CI = 1.14 to 10.96).
Although individual criteria were only moderately effective, in combination they can help to decide about further management of patients with chest pain in primary care.
PMCID: PMC2880766  PMID: 20529488
chest pain; medical history taking; myocardial ischaemia; primary health care; sensitivity and specificity
7.  Diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal chest pain: design of a multi-purpose trial 
Acute chest pain is a major health problem all over the western world. Active approaches are directed towards diagnosis and treatment of potentially life threatening conditions, especially acute coronary syndrome/ischemic heart disease. However, according to the literature, chest pain may also be due to a variety of extra-cardiac disorders including dysfunction of muscles and joints of the chest wall or the cervical and thoracic part of the spine. The diagnostic approaches and treatment options for this group of patients are scarce and formal clinical studies addressing the effect of various treatments are lacking.
We present an ongoing trial on the potential usefulness of chiropractic diagnosis and treatment in patients dismissed from an acute chest pain clinic without a diagnosis of acute coronary syndrome. The aims are to determine the proportion of patients in whom chest pain may be of musculoskeletal rather than cardiac origin and to investigate the decision process of a chiropractor in diagnosing these patients; further, to examine whether chiropractic treatment can reduce pain and improve physical function when compared to advice directed towards promoting self-management, and, finally, to estimate the cost-effectiveness of these procedures. This study will include 300 patients discharged from a university hospital acute chest pain clinic without a diagnosis of acute coronary syndrome or any other obvious cardiac or non-cardiac disease. After completion of the clinic's standard cardiovascular diagnostic procedures, trial patients will be examined according to a standardized protocol including a) a self-report questionnaire; b) a semi-structured interview; c) a general health examination; and d) a specific manual examination of the muscles and joints of the neck, thoracic spine, and thorax in order to determine whether the pain is likely to be of musculoskeletal origin. To describe the patients status with regards to ischemic heart disease, and to compare and indirectly validate the musculoskeletal diagnosis, myocardial perfusion scintigraphy is performed in all patients 2–4 weeks following discharge. Descriptive statistics including parametric and non-parametric methods will be applied in order to compare patients with and without musculoskeletal chest pain in relation to their scintigraphic findings. The decision making process of the chiropractor will be elucidated and reconstructed using the CART method. Out of the 300 patients 120 intended patients with suspected musculoskeletal chest pain will be randomized into one of two groups: a) a course of chiropractic treatment (therapy group) of up to ten treatment sessions focusing on high velocity, low amplitude manipulation of the cervical and thoracic spine, mobilisation, and soft tissue techniques. b) Advice promoting self-management and individual instructions focusing on posture and muscle stretch (advice group). Outcome measures are pain, physical function, overall health, self-perceived treatment effect, and cost-effectiveness.
This study may potentially demonstrate that a chiropractor is able to identify a subset of patients suffering from chest pain predominantly of musculoskeletal origin among patients discharged from an acute chest pain clinic with no apparent cardiac condition. Furthermore knowledge about the benefits of manual treatment of patients with musculoskeletal chest pain will inform clinical decision and policy development in relation to clinical practice.
Trial registration
NCT00462241 and NCT00373828
PMCID: PMC2315652  PMID: 18377636
8.  Independent evaluation of a clinical prediction rule for spinal manipulative therapy: a randomised controlled trial 
European Spine Journal  2008;17(7):936-943.
A clinical prediction rule to identify patients most likely to respond to spinal manipulation has been published and widely cited but requires further testing for external validity. We performed a pre-planned secondary analysis of a randomised controlled trial investigating the efficacy of spinal manipulative therapy in 239 patients presenting to general practice clinics for acute, non-specific, low back pain. Patients were randomised to receive spinal manipulative therapy or placebo 2 to 3 times per week for up to 4 weeks. All patients received general practitioner care (advice and paracetamol). Outcomes were pain and disability measured at 1, 2, 4 and 12 weeks. Status on the clinical prediction rule was measured at baseline. The clinical prediction rule performed no better than chance in identifying patients with acute, non-specific low back pain most likely to respond to spinal manipulative therapy (pain P = 0.805, disability P = 0.600). At 1-week follow-up, the mean difference in effect of spinal manipulative therapy compared to placebo in patients who were rule positive rather than rule negative was 0.3 points less on a 10-point pain scale (95% CI −0.8 to 1.4). The clinical prediction rule proposed by Childs et al. did not generalise to patients presenting to primary care with acute low back pain who received a course of spinal manipulative therapy.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00586-008-0679-9) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC2443269  PMID: 18427840
Low back pain; Spinal manipulative therapy; Subgroup analysis
9.  Signs and symptoms in diagnosing acute myocardial infarction and acute coronary syndrome: a diagnostic meta-analysis 
Prompt diagnosis of acute myocardial infarction or acute coronary syndrome is very important.
A systematic review was conducted to determine the accuracy of 10 important signs and symptoms in selected and non-selected patients.
Design of study
Diagnostic meta-analysis.
Using MEDLINE, CINAHL, EMBASE, tracing references, and by contacting experts, studies were sought out that described one of the 10 signs and symptoms on one or both conditions. Studies were excluded if they were not based on original data. Validity was assessed using QUADAS and all data were pooled using a random effects model.
Sixteen of the 28 included studies were about patients who were non-selected. In this group, absence of chest-wall tenderness on palpation had a pooled sensitivity of 92% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 86 to 96) for acute myocardial infarction and 94% (95% CI = 91 to 96) for acute coronary syndrome. Oppressive pain followed with a pooled sensitivity of 60% (95% CI = 55 to 66) for acute myocardial infarction. Sweating had the highest pooled positive likelihood ratio (LR+), namely 2.92 (95% CI = 1.97 to 4.23) for acute myocardial infarction. The other pooled LR+ fluctuated between 1.05 and 1.49. Negative LRs (LR−) varied between 0.98 and 0.23. Absence of chest-wall tenderness on palpation had a LR− of 0.23 (95% CI = 0.18 to 0.29).
Based on this meta-analysis it was not possible to define an important role for signs and symptoms in the diagnosis of acute myocardial infarction or acute coronary syndrome. Only chest-wall tenderness on palpation largely ruled out acute myocardial infarction or acute coronary syndrome in low-prevalence settings.
PMCID: PMC2233977  PMID: 18307844
diagnostic meta-analysis; myocardial ischemia; signs and symptoms
10.  Predictive Value of a 4-Hour Accelerated Diagnostic Protocol in Patients with Suspected Ischemic Chest Pain Presenting to an Emergency Department 
Oman Medical Journal  2012;27(3):207-211.
Currently recommended risk stratification protocols for suspected ischemic chest pain in the emergency department (ED) includes point-of-care availability of exercise treadmill/nuclear tests or CT coronary angiograms. These tests are not widely available for most of the ED’s. This study aims to prospectively validate the safety of a predefined 4-hour accelerated diagnostic protocol (ADP) using chest pain, ECG, and troponin T among suspected ischemic chest pain patients presenting to an ED of a tertiary care hospital in Oman.
One hundred and thirty-two patients aged over 18 years with suspected ischemic chest pain presenting within 12 hours of onset along with normal or non-diagnostic first ECG and negative first troponin T (<0.010 μg/l) were recruited from September 2008 to February 2009. Low-probability acute coronary syndrome (ACS) patients at 4-hours defined as absent chest pain and negative ECG or troponin tests were discharged home and observed for 30-days for major adverse cardiac events (MACE) (Group I: negative ADP). High-probability ACS patients at 4-hours were defined by recurrent or persistent chest pain, positive ECG or troponin tests and were admitted and observed for in-hospital MACE (Group II: positive ADP).
One hundred and thirty-two patients were recruited and 110 patients completed the study. The overall 30-day MACE in this cohort was 15% with a mortality of less than 1%. 30-days MACE occurred in 8/95 of group I patients (8.4%) and 9/15 of the in-hospital MACE patients in group II. The ADP had a sensitivity of 52% (95% CI: 0.28-0.76), specificity of 93% (0.85-0.97), a negative predictive value of 91% (0.83-0.96), a positive predictive value of 60% (0.32-0.82), negative likelihood ratio of 0.5 (0.30-0.83) and a positive likelihood ratio of 8.2 (3.3-20) in predicting MACE.
A 4-hour ADP using chest pain, ECG, and troponin T had high specificity and negative predictive value in predicting 30-day MACE among low probability ACS patients discharged from ED. However, 30-day MACE in ADP negative patients was relatively high in contrast to guideline recommendations. Hence, there is a need to establish ED chest pain unit and adopt new protocols especially adding a point-of-care exercise treadmill test in the ED.
PMCID: PMC3394349  PMID: 22811769
Emergency department; Accelerated diagnostic protocol; Acute coronary syndrome; MACE; Exercise treadmill test; Chest pain unit
11.  Comparison of Traditional Cardiovascular Risk Models and Coronary Atherosclerotic Plaque as Detected by Computed Tomography for Prediction of Acute Coronary Syndrome in Patients With Acute Chest Pain 
The objective was to determine the association of four clinical risk scores and coronary plaque burden as detected by computed tomography (CT) with the outcome of acute coronary syndrome (ACS) in patients with acute chest pain. The hypothesis was that the combination of risk scores and plaque burden improved the discriminatory capacity for the diagnosis of ACS.
The study was a subanalysis of the Rule Out Myocardial Infarction Using Computer-Assisted Tomography (ROMICAT) trial—a prospective observational cohort study. The authors enrolled patients presenting to the emergency department (ED) with a chief complaint of acute chest pain, inconclusive initial evaluation (negative biomarkers, nondiagnostic electrocardiogram [ECG]), and no history of coronary artery disease (CAD). Patients underwent contrast-enhanced 64-multidetector-row cardiac CT and received standard clinical care (serial ECG, cardiac biomarkers, and subsequent diagnostic testing, such as exercise treadmill testing, nuclear stress perfusion imaging, and/or invasive coronary angiography), as deemed clinically appropriate. The clinical providers were blinded to CT results. The chest pain score was calculated and the results were dichotomized to ≥10 (high-risk) and <10 (low-risk). Three risk scores were calculated, Goldman, Sanchis, and Thrombolysis in Myocardial Infarction (TIMI), and each patient was assigned to a low-, intermediate-, or high-risk category. Because of the low number of subjects in the high-risk group, the intermediate- and high-risk groups were combined into one. CT images were evaluated for the presence of plaque in 17 coronary segments. Plaque burden was stratified into none, intermediate, and high (zero, one to four, and more than four segments with plaque). An outcome panel of two physicians (blinded to CT findings) established the primary outcome of ACS (defined as either an acute myocardial infarction or unstable angina) during the index hospitalization (from the presentation to the ED to the discharge from the hospital). Logistic regression modeling was performed to examine the association of risk scores and coronary plaque burden to the outcome of ACS. Unadjusted models were individually fitted for the coronary plaque burden and for Goldman, Sanchis, TIMI, and chest pain scores. In adjusted analyses, the authors tested whether the association between risk scores and ACS persisted after controlling for the coronary plaque burden. The prognostic discriminatory capacity of the risk scores and plaque burden for ACS was assessed using c-statistics. The differences in area under the receiver-operating characteristic curve (AUC) and c-statistics were tested by performing the −2 log likelihood ratio test of nested models. A p value <0.05 was considered statistically significant.
Among 368 subjects, 31 (8%) subjects were diagnosed with ACS. Goldman (AUC = 0.61), Sanchis (AUC = 0.71), and TIMI (AUC = 0.63) had modest discriminatory capacity for the diagnosis of ACS. Plaque burden was the strongest predictor of ACS (AUC = 0.86; p < 0.05 for all comparisons with individual risk scores). The combination of plaque burden and risk scores improved prediction of ACS (plaque + Goldman AUC = 0.88, plaque + Sanchis AUC = 0.90, plaque + TIMI AUC = 0.88; p < 0.01 for all comparisons with coronary plaque burden alone).
Risk scores (Goldman, Sanchis, TIMI) have modest discriminatory capacity and coronary plaque burden has good discriminatory capacity for the diagnosis of ACS in patients with acute chest pain. The combined information of risk scores and plaque burden significantly improves the discriminatory capacity for the diagnosis of ACS.
PMCID: PMC3424404  PMID: 22849339
12.  Chest wall syndrome among primary care patients: a cohort study 
BMC Family Practice  2007;8:51.
The epidemiology of chest pain differs strongly between outpatient and emergency settings. In general practice, the most frequent cause is the chest wall pain. However, there is a lack of information about the characteristics of this syndrome. The aims of the study are to describe the clinical aspects of chest wall syndrome (CWS).
Prospective, observational, cohort study of patients attending 58 private practices over a five-week period from March to May 2001 with undifferentiated chest pain. During a one-year follow-up, questionnaires including detailed history and physical exam, were filled out at initial consultation, 3 and 12 months. The outcomes were: clinical characteristics associated with the CWS diagnosis and clinical evolution of the syndrome.
Among 24 620 consultations, we observed 672 cases of chest pain and 300 (44.6%) patients had a diagnosis of chest wall syndrome. It affected all ages with a sex ratio of 1:1. History and sensibility to palpation were the keys for diagnosis. Pain was generally moderate, well localised, continuous or intermittent over a number of hours to days or weeks, and amplified by position or movement. The pain however, may be acute. Eighty-eight patients were affected at several painful sites, and 210 patients at a single site, most frequently in the midline or a left-sided site. Pain was a cause of anxiety and cardiac concern, especially when acute. CWS coexisted with coronary disease in 19 and neoplasm in 6. Outcome at one year was favourable even though CWS recurred in half of patients.
CWS is common and benign, but leads to anxiety and recurred frequently. Because the majority of chest wall pain is left-sided, the possibility of coexistence with coronary disease needs careful consideration.
PMCID: PMC2072948  PMID: 17850647
13.  Development of a Simple Reliable Radiographic Scoring System to Aid the Diagnosis of Pulmonary Tuberculosis 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(1):e54235.
Chest radiography is sometimes the only method available for investigating patients with possible pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB) with negative sputum smears. However, interpretation of chest radiographs in this context lacks specificity for PTB, is subjective and is neither standardized nor reproducible. Efforts to improve the interpretation of chest radiography are warranted.
To develop a scoring system to aid the diagnosis of PTB, using features recorded with the Chest Radiograph Reading and Recording System (CRRS).
Chest radiographs of outpatients with possible PTB, recruited over 3 years at clinics in South Africa were read by two independent readers using the CRRS method. Multivariate analysis was used to identify features significantly associated with culture-positive PTB. These were weighted and used to generate a score.
473 patients were included in the analysis. Large upper lobe opacities, cavities, unilateral pleural effusion and adenopathy were significantly associated with PTB, had high inter-reader reliability, and received 2, 2, 1 and 2 points, respectively in the final score. Using a cut-off of 2, scores below this threshold had a high negative predictive value (91.5%, 95%CI 87.1,94.7), but low positive predictive value (49.4%, 95%CI 42.9,55.9). Among the 382 TB suspects with negative sputum smears, 229 patients had scores <2; the score correctly ruled out active PTB in 214 of these patients (NPV 93.4%; 95%CI 89.4,96.3). The score had a suboptimal negative predictive value in HIV-infected patients (NPV 86.4, 95% CI 75,94).
The proposed scoring system is simple, and reliably ruled out active PTB in smear-negative HIV-uninfected patients, thus potentially reducing the need for further tests in high burden settings. Validation studies are now required.
PMCID: PMC3548832  PMID: 23349835
14.  A prediction rule for shoulder pain related sick leave: a prospective cohort study 
Shoulder pain is common in primary care, and has an unfavourable outcome in many patients. Information about predictors of shoulder pain related sick leave in workers is scarce and inconsistent. The objective was to develop a clinical prediction rule for calculating the risk of shoulder pain related sick leave for individual workers, during the 6 months following first consultation in general practice.
A prospective cohort study with 6 months follow-up was conducted among 350 workers with a new episode of shoulder pain. Potential predictors included the results of a physical examination, sociodemographic variables, disease characteristics (duration of symptoms, sick leave in the 2 months prior to consultation, pain intensity, disability, comorbidity), physical activity, physical work load, psychological factors, and the psychosocial work environment. The main outcome measure was sick leave during 6 months following first consultation in general practice.
Response rate to the follow-up questionnaire at 6 months was 85%. During the 6 months after first consultation 30% (89/298) of the workers reported sick leave. 16% (47) reported 10 days sick leave or more. Sick leave during this period was predicted in a multivariable model by a longer duration of sick leave prior to consultation, more shoulder pain, a perceived cause of strain or overuse during regular activities, and co-existing psychological complaints. The discriminative ability of the prediction model was satisfactory with an area under the curve of 0.70 (95% CI 0.64–0.76).
Although 30% of all workers with shoulder pain reported sick leave during follow-up, the duration of sick leave was limited to a few days in most workers. We developed a prediction rule and a score chart that can be used by general practitioners and occupational health care providers to calculate the absolute risk of sick leave in individual workers with shoulder pain, which may help to identify workers who need additional attention. The performance and applicability of our model needs to be tested in other working populations with shoulder pain to enable valid and reliable use of the score chart in everyday practice.
PMCID: PMC1762015  PMID: 17150087
15.  A Novel Tool for the Assessment of Pain: Validation in Low Back Pain 
PLoS Medicine  2009;6(4):e1000047.
Joachim Scholz and colleagues develop and validate an assessment tool that distinguishes between radicular and axial low back pain.
Adequate pain assessment is critical for evaluating the efficacy of analgesic treatment in clinical practice and during the development of new therapies. Yet the currently used scores of global pain intensity fail to reflect the diversity of pain manifestations and the complexity of underlying biological mechanisms. We have developed a tool for a standardized assessment of pain-related symptoms and signs that differentiates pain phenotypes independent of etiology.
Methods and Findings
Using a structured interview (16 questions) and a standardized bedside examination (23 tests), we prospectively assessed symptoms and signs in 130 patients with peripheral neuropathic pain caused by diabetic polyneuropathy, postherpetic neuralgia, or radicular low back pain (LBP), and in 57 patients with non-neuropathic (axial) LBP. A hierarchical cluster analysis revealed distinct association patterns of symptoms and signs (pain subtypes) that characterized six subgroups of patients with neuropathic pain and two subgroups of patients with non-neuropathic pain. Using a classification tree analysis, we identified the most discriminatory assessment items for the identification of pain subtypes. We combined these six interview questions and ten physical tests in a pain assessment tool that we named Standardized Evaluation of Pain (StEP). We validated StEP for the distinction between radicular and axial LBP in an independent group of 137 patients. StEP identified patients with radicular pain with high sensitivity (92%; 95% confidence interval [CI] 83%–97%) and specificity (97%; 95% CI 89%–100%). The diagnostic accuracy of StEP exceeded that of a dedicated screening tool for neuropathic pain and spinal magnetic resonance imaging. In addition, we were able to reproduce subtypes of radicular and axial LBP, underscoring the utility of StEP for discerning distinct constellations of symptoms and signs.
We present a novel method of identifying pain subtypes that we believe reflect underlying pain mechanisms. We demonstrate that this new approach to pain assessment helps separate radicular from axial back pain. Beyond diagnostic utility, a standardized differentiation of pain subtypes that is independent of disease etiology may offer a unique opportunity to improve targeted analgesic treatment.
Editors' Summary
Pain, although unpleasant, is essential for survival. Whenever the body is damaged, nerve cells detecting the injury send an electrical message via the spinal cord to the brain and, as a result, action is taken to prevent further damage. Usually pain is short-lived, but sometimes it continues for weeks, months, or years. Long-lasting (chronic) pain can be caused by an ongoing, often inflammatory condition (for example, arthritis) or by damage to the nervous system itself—experts call this “neuropathic” pain. Damage to the brain or spinal cord causes central neuropathic pain; damage to the nerves that convey information from distant parts of the body to the spinal cord causes peripheral neuropathic pain. One example of peripheral neuropathic pain is “radicular” low back pain (also called sciatica). This is pain that radiates from the back into the legs. By contrast, axial back pain (the most common type of low back pain) is confined to the lower back and is non-neuropathic.
Why Was This Study Done?
Chronic pain is very common—nearly 10% of American adults have frequent back pain, for example—and there are many treatments for it, including rest, regulated exercise (physical therapy), pain-killing drugs (analgesics), and surgery. However, the best treatment for any individual depends on the exact nature of their pain, so it is important to assess their pain carefully before starting treatment. This is usually done by scoring overall pain intensity, but this assessment does not reflect the characteristics of the pain (for example, whether it occurs spontaneously or in response to external stimuli) or the complex biological processes involved in pain generation. An assessment designed to take such factors into account might improve treatment outcomes and could be useful in the development of new therapies. In this study, the researchers develop and test a new, standardized tool for the assessment of chronic pain that, by examining many symptoms and signs, aims to distinguish between pain subtypes.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
One hundred thirty patients with several types of peripheral neuropathic pain and 57 patients with non-neuropathic (axial) low back pain completed a structured interview of 16 questions and a standardized bedside examination of 23 tests. Patients were asked, for example, to choose words that described their pain from a list provided by the researchers and to grade the intensity of particular aspects of their pain from zero (no pain) to ten (the maximum imaginable pain). Bedside tests included measurements of responses to light touch, pinprick, and vibration—chronic pain often alters responses to harmless stimuli. Using “hierarchical cluster analysis,” the researchers identified six subgroups of patients with neuropathic pain and two subgroups of patients with non-neuropathic pain based on the patterns of symptoms and signs revealed by the interviews and physical tests. They then used “classification tree analysis” to identify the six questions and ten physical tests that discriminated best between pain subtypes and combined these items into a tool for a Standardized Evaluation of Pain (StEP). Finally, the researchers asked whether StEP, which took 10–15 minutes, could identify patients with radicular back pain and discriminate them from those with axial back pain in an independent group of 137 patients with chronic low back pain. StEP, they report, accurately diagnosed these two conditions and was well accepted by the patients.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that a standardized assessment of pain-related signs and symptoms can provide a simple, quick diagnostic procedure that distinguishes between radicular (neuropathic) and axial (non-neuropathic) low back pain. This distinction is crucial because these types of back pain are best treated in different ways. In addition, the findings suggest that it might be possible to identify additional pain subtypes using StEP. Because these subtypes may represent conditions in which different pain mechanisms are acting, classifying patients in this way might eventually enable physicians to tailor treatments for chronic pain to the specific needs of individual patients rather than, as at present, largely guessing which of the available treatments is likely to work best.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
This study is further discussed in a PLoS Medicine Perspective by Giorgio Cruccu and and Andrea Truini
The US National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke provides a primer on pain in English and Spanish
In its 2006 report on the health status of the US, the National Center for Health Statistics provides a special feature on the epidemiology of pain, including back pain
The Pain Treatment Topics Web site is a resource, sponsored partly by associations and manufacturers, that provides information on all aspects of pain and its treatment for health care professionals and their patients
Medline Plus provides a brief description of pain and of back pain and links to further information on both topics (in English and Spanish)
The MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia also has a page on low back pain (in English and Spanish)
PMCID: PMC2661253  PMID: 19360087
16.  Clinical presentation and chiropractic treatment of Tietze syndrome: A 34-year-old female with left-sided chest pain 
The purpose of this case report is to describe the clinical presentation and chiropractic management of Tietze syndrome.
Clinical Features
A 34-year-old woman presented with unexplained left-sided chest pain. Electrocardiogram and radiographs were taken at a medical emergency department to rule out cardiovascular and pulmonary causes, and pain medication did not relieve her pain. Physical examination showed tenderness on palpation and swelling of the second and third chondrosternal joints, as well as thoracic joint dysfunction. Heart and lung pathology was ruled out, and chondrosternal joint swelling was present, Tietze syndrome was diagnosed.
Intervention and Outcome
A treatment plan aimed at restoring normal thoracic and rib joint movement and decreasing inflammation of the chondrosternal joints resulted in lower pain levels. Treatment consisted of diversified high-velocity, low-amplitude chiropractic manipulation; activator technique; and cryotherapy.
Chiropractic management of Tietze syndrome was successful in reducing pain levels in this patient's case.
PMCID: PMC3110396  PMID: 22027210
Chest pain; Musculoskeletal system; Tietze syndrome; Chiropractic
17.  Predictive ability of an early diagnostic guess in patients presenting with chest pain; a longitudinal descriptive study 
BMC Family Practice  2010;11:14.
The intuitive early diagnostic guess could play an important role in reaching a final diagnosis. However, no study to date has attempted to quantify the importance of general practitioners' (GPs) ability to correctly appraise the origin of chest pain within the first minutes of an encounter.
The validation study was nested in a multicentre cohort study with a one year follow-up and included 626 successive patients who presented with chest pain and were attended by 58 GPs in Western Switzerland. The early diagnostic guess was assessed prior to a patient's history being taken by a GP and was then compared to a diagnosis of chest pain observed over the next year.
Using summary measures clustered at the GP's level, the early diagnostic guess was confirmed by further investigation in 51.0% (CI 95%; 49.4% to 52.5%) of patients presenting with chest pain. The early diagnostic guess was more accurate in patients with a life threatening illness (65.4%; CI 95% 64.5% to 66.3%) and in patients who did not feel anxious (62.9%; CI 95% 62.5% to 63.3%). The predictive abilities of an early diagnostic guess were consistent among GPs.
The GPs early diagnostic guess was correct in one out of two patients presenting with chest pain. The probability of a correct guess was higher in patients with a life-threatening illness and in patients not feeling anxious about their pain.
PMCID: PMC2836993  PMID: 20170544
18.  An investigation into the validity of cervical spine motion palpation using subjects with congenital block vertebrae as a 'gold standard' 
Although the effectiveness of manipulative therapy for treating back and neck pain has been demonstrated, the validity of many of the procedures used to detect joint dysfunction has not been confirmed. Practitioners of manual medicine frequently employ motion palpation as a diagnostic tool, despite conflicting evidence regarding its utility and reliability. The introduction of various spinal models with artificially introduced 'fixations' as an attempt to introduce a 'gold standard' has met with frustration and frequent mechanical failure. Because direct comparison against a 'gold standard' allows the validity, specificity and sensitivity of a test to be calculated, the identification of a realistic 'gold standard' against which motion palpation can be evaluated is essential. The objective of this study was to introduce a new, realistic, 'gold standard', the congenital block vertebra (CBV) to assess the validity of motion palpation in detecting a true fixation.
Twenty fourth year chiropractic students examined the cervical spines of three subjects with single level congenital block vertebrae, using two commonly employed motion palpation tests. The examiners, who were blinded to the presence of congenital block vertebrae, were asked to identify the most hypomobile segment(s). The congenital block segments included two subjects with fusion at the C2–3 level and one with fusion at C5-6. Exclusion criteria included subjects who were frankly symptomatic, had moderate or severe degenerative changes in their cervical spines, or displayed signs of cervical instability. Spinal levels were marked on the subject's skin overlying the facet joints from C1 to C7 bilaterally and the motion segments were then marked alphabetically with 'A' corresponding to C1-2.
Kappa coefficients (K) were calculated to determine the validity of motion palpation to detect the congenitally fused segments as the 'most hypomobile' segments. Sensitivity and specificity of the diagnostic procedure were also calculated.
Kappa coefficients (K) showed substantial overall agreement for identification of the segment of greatest hypomobility (K = 0.65), with substantial (K = 0.76) and moderate (K = 0.46) agreement for hypomobility at C2-3 and C5-6 respectively. Sensitivity ranged from 55% at the C5-6 CBV to 78% at the C2-3 level. Specificity of the procedure was high (91 – 98%).
This study indicates that relatively inexperienced examiners are capable of correctly identifying inter-segmental fixations (CBV) in the cervical spine using 2 commonly employed motion palpation tests. The use of a 'gold standard' (CBV) in this study and the substantial agreement achieved lends support to the validity of motion palpation in detecting major spinal fixations in the cervical spine.
PMCID: PMC441389  PMID: 15198806
19.  Multivariate modeling to identify patterns in clinical data: the example of chest pain 
In chest pain, physicians are confronted with numerous interrelationships between symptoms and with evidence for or against classifying a patient into different diagnostic categories. The aim of our study was to find natural groups of patients on the basis of risk factors, history and clinical examination data which should then be validated with patients' final diagnoses.
We conducted a cross-sectional diagnostic study in 74 primary care practices to establish the validity of symptoms and findings for the diagnosis of coronary heart disease. A total of 1199 patients above age 35 presenting with chest pain were included in the study. General practitioners took a standardized history and performed a physical examination. They also recorded their preliminary diagnoses, investigations and management related to the patient's chest pain. We used multiple correspondence analysis (MCA) to examine associations on variable level, and multidimensional scaling (MDS), k-means and fuzzy cluster analyses to search for subgroups on patient level. We further used heatmaps to graphically illustrate the results.
A multiple correspondence analysis supported our data collection strategy on variable level. Six factors emerged from this analysis: „chest wall syndrome“, „vital threat“, „stomach and bowel pain“, „angina pectoris“, „chest infection syndrome“, and „ self-limiting chest pain“. MDS, k-means and fuzzy cluster analysis on patient level were not able to find distinct groups. The resulting cluster solutions were not interpretable and had insufficient statistical quality criteria.
Chest pain is a heterogeneous clinical category with no coherent associations between signs and symptoms on patient level.
PMCID: PMC3228697  PMID: 22108386
20.  Chest pain without established ischaemic heart disease in primary care patients: associated comorbidities and mortality 
Ischaemic heart disease (IHD) can be excluded in the majority of patients with unspecific chest pain. The remainder have what is generally referred to as non-cardiac chest pain, which has been associated with gastrointestinal, neuromusculoskeletal, pulmonary, and psychiatric causes.
To assess morbidity and mortality following a new diagnosis of non-specific chest pain in patients without established IHD.
Design of study
Population-based cohort study with nested case-control analysis.
UK primary care practices contributing to the General Practice Research Database.
Patients aged 20–79 years with chest pain who had had no chest pain consultation before 2000 and no IHD diagnosis before 2000 or within 2 weeks after the index date were selected from the General Practice Research Database. The selected 3028 patients and matched controls were followed-up for 1 year.
The incidence of chest pain in patients without established IHD was 12.7 per 1000 person-years. In the year following the index date, patients who had chest pain but did not have established IHD were more likely than controls to receive a first IHD diagnosis (hazard ratio [HR] = 18.2, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 11.6 to 28.6) or to die (HR = 2.3, 95% CI = 1.3 to 4.1). Patients with chest pain commonly had a history of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD; odds ratio [OR] = 2.0, 95% CI = 1.5 to 2.7) or went on to be diagnosed with GORD (risk ratio 4.5, 95% CI = 3.1 to 6.4).
Patients with chest pain but without established IHD were found to have an increased risk of being diagnosed with IHD. Chest pain in patients without established IHD was also commonly associated with GORD.
PMCID: PMC2648936  PMID: 19275827
chest pain; gastro-oesophageal reflux disease; mortality; myocardial ischaemia; primary healthcare
21.  How well do clinical prediction rules perform in identifying serious infections in acutely ill children across an international network of ambulatory care datasets? 
BMC Medicine  2013;11:10.
Diagnosing serious infections in children is challenging, because of the low incidence of such infections and their non-specific presentation early in the course of illness. Prediction rules are promoted as a means to improve recognition of serious infections. A recent systematic review identified seven clinical prediction rules, of which only one had been prospectively validated, calling into question their appropriateness for clinical practice. We aimed to examine the diagnostic accuracy of these rules in multiple ambulatory care populations in Europe.
Four clinical prediction rules and two national guidelines, based on signs and symptoms, were validated retrospectively in seven individual patient datasets from primary care and emergency departments, comprising 11,023 children from the UK, the Netherlands, and Belgium. The accuracy of each rule was tested, with pre-test and post-test probabilities displayed using dumbbell plots, with serious infection settings stratified as low prevalence (LP; <5%), intermediate prevalence (IP; 5 to 20%), and high prevalence (HP; >20%) . In LP and IP settings, sensitivity should be >90% for effective ruling out infection.
In LP settings, a five-stage decision tree and a pneumonia rule had sensitivities of >90% (at a negative likelihood ratio (NLR) of < 0.2) for ruling out serious infections, whereas the sensitivities of a meningitis rule and the Yale Observation Scale (YOS) varied widely, between 33 and 100%. In IP settings, the five-stage decision tree, the pneumonia rule, and YOS had sensitivities between 22 and 88%, with NLR ranging from 0.3 to 0.8. In an HP setting, the five-stage decision tree provided a sensitivity of 23%. In LP or IP settings, the sensitivities of the National Institute for Clinical Excellence guideline for feverish illness and the Dutch College of General Practitioners alarm symptoms ranged from 81 to 100%.
None of the clinical prediction rules examined in this study provided perfect diagnostic accuracy. In LP or IP settings, prediction rules and evidence-based guidelines had high sensitivity, providing promising rule-out value for serious infections in these datasets, although all had a percentage of residual uncertainty. Additional clinical assessment or testing such as point-of-care laboratory tests may be needed to increase clinical certainty. None of the prediction rules identified seemed to be valuable for HP settings such as emergency departments.
PMCID: PMC3566974  PMID: 23320738
clinical prediction rules; serious infection in children; external validation; NICE guidelines feverish illness; Yale Observation Scale; diagnostic accuracy
22.  Soluble P-selectin for the diagnosis of lower extremity deep venous thrombosis 
Although duplex ultrasound is the standard for the diagnosis of lower extremity deep venous thrombosis (LE-DVT), imaging is not always available. The use of D-dimer can exclude (high-sensitivity), but not rule in (low-specificity) LE-DVT. Previously, we demonstrated that soluble P-selectin (sP-sel) in combination with the Wells score, establishes the diagnosis of LE-DVT with a specificity of 96% and a positive predictive value of 100%. In order to validate our previous results, we applied the model to a separate but similar patient cohort. Additionally, we analyzed the role of biomarkers for diagnosing upper extremity DVT (UE-DVT).
Between April 2009 and March 2012, all patients presenting for a duplex ultrasound exam with concern of DVT were screened. Demographics, clinical data, D-dimer, sP-sel, C-reactive protein, a disintegrin and metalloproteinase with a thrombospondin type 1 motif, member 13, and von Willebrand factor levels were prospectively collected in 279 patients (234 LE-DVT, 45 UE-DVT). Continuous and categorical variables among patients with DVT were compared with patients without DVT. The diagnostic sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, and negative predictive value were then calculated using our previously derived cut points to rule in or exclude DVT.
Among 234 patients evaluated for LE-DVT, 112 (48%) patients had a confirmed LE-DVT with significant differences in all biomarkers. When Wells score ≥2, sP-sel could rule in LE-DVT with a specificity of 97.5% and a positive predictive value of 91%, which was more accurate than Wells score ≥2 and D-dimer (specificity, 65%; positive predictive value, 69%). When Wells score was <2, D-dimer was superior to sP-sel for excluding the diagnosis of LE-DVT (sensitivity, 98%; negative predictive value, 95% vs sensitivity, 91%; negative predictive value, 79%). The use of additional biomarkers did not increase accuracy. Had imaging not been available, we could have correctly ruled in or ruled out LE-DVT in 29% (67/234) of patients. The use of sP-sel in UE-DVT was nondiagnostic.
We demonstrate that when Wells score ≥2, sP-sel is an excellent biomarker to rule in LE-DVT. Different from our previous study, D-dimer and a Wells score <2 was most sensitive at excluding a diagnosis of LE-DVT. Combined, Wells score, sP-sel, and D-dimer can both rule in and exclude LE-DVT in approximately one-third of patients.
PMCID: PMC3752921  PMID: 23998134
23.  Social and gender variation in the prevalence, presentation and general practitioner provisional diagnosis of chest pain 
OBJECTIVES—To describe the prevalence of Rose angina and non-exertional chest pain in men and women in socioeconomically contrasting areas; to describe the proportions of men and women who present with the symptom of chest pain and who receive a provisional general practitioner diagnosis of coronary heart disease; to assess the effects of gender and deprivation.
DESIGN—Two random general population samples in socially contrasting areas were surveyed using the Rose angina questionnaire: the case notes of people identified with chest pain were reviewed.
SETTING—Glasgow conurbation.
PARTICIPANTS—1107 men and women, aged 45-64, with chest pain.
OUTCOME MEASURES—Prevalence of Rose angina and non-exertional chest pain; the proportions who had presented with chest pain and received a general practitioner's provisional diagnosis of coronary heart disease.
RESULTS—There was no difference between social groups in the prevalence of all chest pain but a greater proportion of those in deprived groups had Rose angina and a greater proportion of these had the more severe grade. The proportion of people who had presented with chest pain was higher among socioeconomically deprived groups but there was no difference in the proportions receiving a general practitioner provisional diagnosis of coronary heart disease. Men were more likely to present with chest pain than women and were more likely to receive a provisional general practitioner diagnosis of coronary heart disease.
CONCLUSIONS—No evidence was found of social differences in patient presentation or general practitioner diagnosis that might explain reported variations in uptake of cardiology services. In contrast, gender variation may originate in part from differences in patient presentation and general practitioner diagnosis. Further investigation of socioeconomic variations in uptake of cardiology services should focus later in the care pathway, on general practitioner referral patterns and clinical decisions taken in secondary care.

Keywords: angina; social class; gender; primary care; chest pain
PMCID: PMC1731754  PMID: 10942455
24.  Diagnostic Accuracy and Association to Disability of Clinical Test Findings Associated with Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome 
Physiotherapy Canada  2010;62(1):17-24.
Purpose: To investigate the diagnostic accuracy and association to disability of selected functional findings or physical examination tests for patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS) in patients with anterior knee pain.
Methods: A sample of 76 consecutive patients with anterior knee pain was further subdivided into PFPS and other diagnoses. Routine physical examination tests were examined in a prospective, consecutive-subjects design for a cohort of patients with anterior knee pain. Diagnostic accuracy findings, including sensitivity, specificity, positive (PPV) and negative (NPV) predictive value, and positive (LR+) and negative (LR−) likelihood ratios, were calculated for each test. PPV and NPV reflect the percentage of time of positive or a negative test (respectively) accurately captures the diagnosis of the condition. LR+ and LR− reflect alterations in post-test probability when the test is positive or negative (respectively). Lastly, associations to disability (International Knee Documentation Committee (IKDC) subjective form) were calculated for each clinical finding.
Results: Diagnostic accuracy analyses of individual functional assessment and situational phenomena suggest that the strongest diagnostic test is pain encountered during resisted muscle contraction of the knee (PPV=82%; LR+=2.2; 95% CI: 0.99–5.2). Clusters of test findings were substantially more diagnostic, with any two of three positive findings of muscle contraction, pain during squatting, and pain during palpation yielding the following values: PPV=89%; LR+=4.0 (95% CI: 1.8–10.3). No individual or clustered test findings were significantly associated with the IKDC score.
Conclusion: Combinations of functional assessment tests and situational phenomena are diagnostic for PFPS and may serve to rule in and rule out the presence of PFPS. Single findings are not related to disability scores (IKDC).
PMCID: PMC2841549  PMID: 21197175
diagnostic accuracy; International Knee Documentation Committee; patellofemoral pain syndrome; sensitivity; specificity; International Knee Documentation Committee; précision des diagnostics; syndrome fémoro-rotulien; syndrome fémoro-patellaire; spécificité
25.  Diagnostic values of chest pain history, ECG, troponin and clinical gestalt in patients with chest pain and potential acute coronary syndrome assessed in the emergency department 
SpringerPlus  2015;4:219.
In the assessment of chest pain patients with suspected acute coronary syndrome (ACS) in the emergency department (ED), physicians rely on global diagnostic impressions (‘gestalt’). The aim of this study was to determine the diagnostic value of the ED physician’s overall assessment of ACS likelihood, and the values of the main diagnostic modalities underlying this assessment, namely the chest pain history, the ECG and the initial troponin result. 1,151 consecutive ED chest pain patients were prospectively included. The ED physician’s interpretation of the chest pain history, the ECG, and the global likelihood of ACS were recorded on special forms. The discharge diagnoses were retrieved from the medical records. A chart review was carried out to determine whether patients with a non-ACS diagnosis at the index visit had ACS or suffered cardiac death within 30 days. The gestalt was better than its components both at ruling in (“Obvious ACS”, LR 29) and at ruling out (“No Suspicion of ACS”, LR 0.01) ACS. In the “Strong suspicion of ACS” group, 60% of the patients did not have ACS. A positive TnT (LR 24.9) and an ischemic ECG (LR 8.3) were strong predictors of ACS and seemed superior to pain history for ruling in ACS. In patients with a normal TnT and non-ischemic ECG, chest pain history typical of AMI was not a significant predictor of AMI (LR 1.9) while pain history typical of unstable angina (UA) was a moderate predictor of UA (LR 4.7). Clinical gestalt was better than its components both at ruling in and at ruling out ACS, but overestimated the likelihood of ACS when cases were assessed as strong suspicion of ACS. Among the components of the gestalt, TnT and ECG were superior to the chest pain history for ruling in ACS, while pain history was superior for ruling out ACS.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s40064-015-0992-9) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4431985  PMID: 25992314
Acute coronary syndrome; Chest pain; ECG; Diagnosis; Gestalt; Probability

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