The original guidelines, issued by the American College of Cardiology (ACC) and the American Heart Association (AHA), tell emergency department physicians how to recognise early symptoms of heart attack, and what to do next.

The problem, said Brian Gibler, MD, chairman of UC's Department of Emergency Medicine, is that navigating the daunting 95 pages of the complete ACC/AHA guidelines probably leaves them underused.

Now, in the August edition of the Annals of Emergency Medicine, Dr. Gibler and other national emergency medicine and cardiology experts provide a distilled review of the ACC/AHA guidelines.

"It's critical that physicians know how to determine whether an emergency patient with chest pain is at high or low risk of a heart attack," Dr. Gibler said. "If used, the review will help physicians diagnose acute coronary events quicker, and provide faster treatment that may even prevent a heart attack or damage to the heart before it happens."

Each year, more than 5.3 million patients are treated in hospital emergency departments for chest pains. The challenge, Dr. Gibler points out, is for doctors to quickly identify those who are at highest risk for a heart attack.

The Annals of Emergency Medicine is the official scientific journal of the American College of Emergency Physicians.; Source: University of Cincinnati