UMEM Educational Pearls

Category: Cardiology

Title: risk factors and CAD

Keywords: coronary heart disease, cardiac disease, risk factors (PubMed Search)

Posted: 11/2/2008 by Amal Mattu, MD (Updated: 8/17/2022)
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The classic risk factors for coronary artery disease (e.g. hypertension, diabetes, smoking, etc.) are helpful at predicting the long-term risk of CAD, but they have limited utility at predicting whether a patient with acute symptoms is having an acute coronary syndrome or not. In one recent study of > 800 patients with suspected cardiac chest pain, 12% of patients with NO cardiac risk factors ruled-in for acute MI.

Never rule out ACS in a patient purely based on the absence of traditional cardiac risk factors!

[Body R, McDowell G, Carley S, et al. Do risk factors for chronic coronary heart disease help diagnose acute myocardial infarction in the Emergency Department? Resuscitation 2008;79:41-45.]