Cardiac Testing

Cardiac Testing is a topic covered in the 5-Minute Emergency Consult.

To view the entire topic, please or purchase a subscription.

Emergency Central is a collection of disease, drug, and test information including 5-Minute Emergency Medicine Consult, Davis’s Drug, McGraw-Hill Medical’s Diagnosaurus®, Pocket Guide to Diagnostic Tests, and MEDLINE Journals created for emergency medicine professionals. Explore these free sample topics:

Emergency Central

-- The first section of this topic is shown below --



  • Cardiac testing is indicated for emergency patients at risk for heart failure (HF) or acute coronary syndrome (ACS).
  • These pathologies may be thought of as a spectrum: Unstable angina can evolve into MI, which in turn can cause HF:
    • ∼20% of ED malpractice claims are due to missed diagnosis of ACS.
    • ∼2% of patients with ACS are inappropriately discharged from an ED.
    • History, physical exam, and ECG are the critical elements in working up chest pain and ACS/HF.
    • History, physical, and ECG nevertheless miss 1–4% of all heart attacks.
    • Additional tools include imaging modalities and blood tests (e.g., cardiac biomarkers).


ACS is caused by atherosclerotic narrowing of coronary vessels or by coronary vasospasm.
Pregnancy Considerations
In the pregnant patient with chest pain and ischemic changes on ECG, also consider spontaneous coronary artery dissection.

-- To view the remaining sections of this topic, please or purchase a subscription --