The rates of readmission for serious cardiovascular events among patients admitted with a diagnosis of non-specific chest pain are unknown.
A national retrospective cohort study in the United States was undertaken to evaluate the rates, trends and predictors of readmission for serious cardiovascular events (acute coronary syndrome (ACS), pulmonary embolism (PE) and aortic dissection (AD)) after an inpatient episode with a primary diagnosis of non-specific chest pain.
Among 1,172,430 patients with an index diagnosis of non-specific chest pain between 2010 and 2014, 2.4% were readmitted with an ACS, 0.4% with a PE and 0.06% with an AD within 6 months of discharge. Predictors of ACS readmissions were diabetes (OR 1.49 95% CI 1.17–1.32), coronary artery disease (OR 2.29 95% CI 2.15–2.44), previous percutaneous coronary intervention (OR 1.65 95% CI 1.56–1.75), previous CABG (OR 1.52 95% CI 1.43–1.61) and discharge against medical advice (OR 1.94 95% CI 1.78–2.12). Female patients (OR 0.82 95% CI 0.78–0.86) and patients in whom a coronary angiogram was undertaken (OR 0.48 95% CI 0.45–0.52) were less likely to be readmitted for ACS. For PE, predictors of readmission were pulmonary circulatory disorder (OR 2.20 95% CI 1.09–4.43), anemia (OR 1.62 95% CI 1.40–1.86) and cancer (OR 4.15 95% CI 3.43–5.02). Peripheral vascular disease (OR 8.63 95% CI 5.47–13.60), renal failure (OR 2.08 95% CI 1.34–3.24) were predictors of AD.
Non-specific chest pain may not be a benign condition as readmissions for serious cardiovascular events occur in 3% of patients within 180 days. Research is needed to define measures that may mitigate readmissions among these patients.