Chest pain severity not a heart attack indicator: study

NEW YORK, (Reuters Life!) – A high degree of pain  does not make it any more likely that someone coming into the  emergency room with chest pains is having a heart attack,  according to a study.

Researchers at the Hospital of the University of  Pennsyl-vania, who looked at more than 3,000 patients, also found  that the most severe chest pain was not a good predictor of who  was actually having a myocardial infarction, nor of which  patients were more prone to having one over the next month.

The opposite was also true, said Anna Marie Chang, one of  the authors of the study, which appeared in the Annals of  Emergency Medicine.

“If chest pain isn’t severe, that doesn’t mean it’s not a  heart attack,” she added.

Using a scale of zero to 10, with zero representing no pain  and 10 being the worst pain imaginable, researchers gauged the  pain levels of about 3,300 patients who arrived at the UPenn  hospital emergency department complaining of chest pain.

They then followed the patients for 30 days to see who had  further heart-related events.

Patients with the most severe chest pain were no more likely  to be having a heart attack, or to have one within the next  month, than patients with lesser pain. Pain that lasted more  than an hour was also not a useful sign of a heart attack versus  other conditions.

The pain of a heart attack also doesn’t always settle in the  chest area but may be in the chest, arm, jaw back or abdomen,  doctors said.

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