Use of troponin as a screen for chest pain in the pediatric emergency department.
Troponin levels are commonly employed in the assessment of adults presenting with chest pain or concern for coronary ischemia. However, the utility of troponin measurements in children is not well defined. The purpose of this study was to review the use and clinical yield of serum troponin assay in a large pediatric emergency department (ED). We identified all patients <22 years of age, not previously known to have cardiac disease, who presented with chest pain and whose troponin levels were evaluated in our pediatric ED during a 7-year period. Test results were correlated to patient factors, such as chief complaint, cardiac history, diagnostic workup, and discharge diagnoses. Of the 212 study patients who presented with chest pain, troponin levels were increased (≥ 0.1 ng/ml) in 37 (17%) subjects. The disposition for these 37 subjects included transfer to adult facility (n = 6), admission to our pediatric inpatient service (n = 27), and discharge to home from the ED (n = 10). Only one subject had an acute myocardial infarction. For those with increased troponin level, 18 of 37 (48%) cases were attributed to a primary cardiac diagnosis with the most common discharge diagnosis of myocarditis or pericarditis. In the pediatric ED setting, selective use of troponin assay may be a useful test in the management of patients with chest pain. Most cases of increased troponin level related to chest pain represent myocarditis, often mild and self-resolving. Given the low likelihood that acute coronary syndrome is the etiology of chest pain, immediate transfer to an adult facility for the majority of patients with increase of troponin does not appear warranted.
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