IMR Press / RCM / Volume 11 / Issue S2 / DOI: 10.3909/ricm11S2S0006

Reviews in Cardiovascular Medicine (RCM) is published by IMR Press from Volume 19 Issue 1 (2018). Previous articles were published by another publisher in Open Access under a CC-BY (or CC-BY-NC-ND) licence, and they are hosted by IMR Press on as a courtesy and upon agreement with MedReviews, LLC.

Open Access Review
Differential Diagnosis and Overlap of Acute Chest Discomfort and Dyspnea in the Emergency Department
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1 Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, Cedars Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA
2 Department of Medicine, Divisions of Cardiology, Nutrition, and Preventive Medicine, William Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak, MI
Rev. Cardiovasc. Med. 2010, 11(S2), 13–23;
Published: 20 February 2010
Acute chest discomfort and dyspnea are 2 of the most common nontraumatic symptoms that prompt emergency department evaluations in the United States. The overlap between these presenting symptoms is considerable. In addition, each symptom calls for a broad differential diagnosis that requires rapid refinement according to details in the history, physical examination, blood biomarkers, and radiographic evaluation. This article highlights the epidemiology and the evidence supporting critical decision making, which makes judicious use of the clinical laboratory and diagnostic radiology in the evaluation of the acutely ill patient with chest discomfort and dyspnea.
Chest pain
Emergency department
Differential diagnosis
CT angiography
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