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.