Can paramedics avoid A&E departments with patients complaining of non-traumatic chest pain?


The ‘Paramedic Pathfinder’, a triage tool for paramedics, contains a discriminator for patients complaining of non-traumatic chest pain. The pathfinder advises all patients with non-traumatic chest pain to be taken to hospital. Given a background of large numbers of patients complaining of chest pain and the policy direction of UK ambulance services to treat patients closer to home, the inclusion of discriminator in the pathfinder can be challenged.A greater understanding of ACS, university education for paramedics, bedside troponin measurement, ACS risk scoring, current NICE guidelines and rapid access chest pain clinics have been identified as enablers to remove the discriminator safely and assist paramedics in finding suitable alternatives to Accident and Emergency for certain patients.Risk is an important factor in discussing chest pain and establishing the best pathway for patients. The enablers identified need further testing and development in the pre-hospital environment before they can be utilised.

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