No Racial or Gender Bias in Time to Electrocardiogram

Emergency department admissions for chest pain tested quicker among over those over 60 years of age
By Jane Parry
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Sept. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Among chest pain cases presenting at hospital emergency departments, there are no racial or gender disparities in terms of time from admission to electrocardiogram (EKG), but patients over the age of 60 tend to be tested more promptly than their younger counterparts, according to a report published in the October issue of the Journal of Emergency Nursing.

Michael K. Pearlman, M.D., of St. Francis Hospital in Evanston, Ill., and colleagues conducted a study of 214 patients who presented at an urban, academic hospital emergency department with an explicitly stated complaint of chest pain.

The overall median time to EKG was 29 minutes from admission, and there were no differences in time to EKG when the data was analyzed according to racial or gender category, the researchers report. However, it took longer for patients aged 18 to 59 years to get an EKG compared with those over the age of 60, the investigators found.

"Emergency departments need to consider examining door-to-EKG time for all patients with undifferentiated chest pain," the authors write. "Performance information even in patients at low risk for serious cardiac disease can be used to examine an institution's commitment to minimizing disparities in patient care and can highlight important information regarding an institution's clinical practice."

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