Introduction: Chest pain is a common reason for ambulance transport. Acute coronary syndrome (ACS) and pulmonary embolism (PE) risk assessments, such as history, electrocardiogram, age, risk factors (HEAR); Emergency Department Assessment of Chest Pain Score (EDACS); Pulmonary Embolism Rule-out Criteria (PERC); and revised Geneva score, are well validated for emergency department (ED) use but have not been translated to the prehospital setting. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the 1) prehospital completion rate and 2) inter-rater reliability of chest pain risk assessments.
Methods: We conducted a prospective observational cohort study in two emergency medical services (EMS) agencies (April 18, 2018 – January 2, 2019). Adults with acute, non-traumatic chest pain without ST-elevation myocardial infarction or unstable vital signs were accrued. Paramedics were trained to use the HEAR, EDACS, PERC, and revised Geneva score assessments. A subset of patients (a priori goal of N = 250) also had the four risk assessments completed by their treating clinicians in the ED, who were blinded to the EMS risk assessments. Outcomes were 1) risk assessments completion rate and 2) inter-rater reliability between EMS and ED assessments. An a priori goal for completion rate was set as >75%. We computed kappa with corresponding 95% confidence intervals (CI) for each risk assessment as a measure of inter-rater reliability. Acceptable agreement was defined a priori as kappa ≥ 0.60.
Results: During the study period, 837 patients with acute chest pain were accrued. The median age was 54 years, interquartile range 43-66, with 53% female and 51% Black. Completion rates for each risk assessment were above goal: the HEAR score was completed on 95.1% (796/837), EDACS on 92.0% (770/837), PERC on 89.4% (748/837), and revised Geneva score on 90.7% (759/837) of patients. We assessed agreement in a subgroup of 260 patients. The HEAR score had a kappa of 0.51 (95% CI, 0.41- 0.61); EDACS was 0.60 (95% CI, 0.49-0.72); PERC was 0.71 (95% CI, 0.61-0.81); and revised Geneva score was 0.51 (95% CI, 0.39-0.62).
Conclusion: The completion rate of risk assessments for ACS and PE was high for prehospital field personnel. The PERC and EDACS both demonstrated acceptable agreement between paramedics and clinicians in the ED, although assessments with better agreement are likely needed.