Cardiology clinic follow-up did not decrease return visits to the ED for chest pain patients

Aaron Barksdale, Jeff Hackman, Aaron Bonham, Matt Gratton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background We initiated a program to rapidly rule out myocardial infarction and make an appointment (with no co-payment) with a cardiologist within 72 hours for patients with low-risk chest pain. Objective The objectives of this study were to determine if the rate of return emergency department (ED) visits for chest pain decreased among patients who kept their appointments and to evaluate factors that impacted clinic no-show rates.

Methods The study was conducted at a safety net facility with 65 000 adult patient visits per year. This study was a retrospective review of patients with chest pain discharged from the ED with a scheduled cardiology clinic appointment between October 2008 and December 2009. We compared those who kept their clinic appointment with those who did not for repeat ED visits for 6 months after the study period. Multivariate analysis evaluated factors associated with keeping appointments.

Results Of 381 patients, 265 (70%) kept their appointments. Show rates did not differ based on age, sex, race, or language. Patients with commercial insurance were more likely to keep appointments than Medicare, Medicaid, and uninsured (OR, 51.3; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.53-1041.64; P =.010). The 116 no-show patients averaged 0.39 return ED visits (95% CI, 0.15-0.63), and the 265 patients who kept their appointments averaged 0.28 (95% CI, 0.17-0.39). Two hundred twenty-nine patients who kept their appointment had no return ED visits, but 36 patients had 74 return ED visits. There was no difference in return ED visits between the 18 who had diagnostic cardiac testing (mean, 1.78; 95% CI, 1.60-3.06) and the 18 who did not (mean, 2.33; 95% CI, 1.20-2.36; P =.251).

Conclusions This program did not reduce repeat ED visits. Patients with insurance were more likely to keep follow-up appointments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1208-1211
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Emergency Medicine
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine


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