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People with chest pains will be assessed in the ambulance in bid to reduce ED admissions

Paramedics in Greater Manchester will assess people who call 999 with chest pains to decide if they need to go to an emergency department

Paramedics in Greater Manchester will assess people who call 999 with chest pains to decide if they need to go to an emergency department


Picture: Alamy

A study in which paramedics check people with chest pains to decide if they need to be taken to hospital is being held in Greater Manchester.

People who call 999 due to chest pains will be asked to take part in the study, which is aimed at reducing unnecessary emergency department (ED) admissions.

Instead of tests being carried out in an ED, the paramedics will take a blood sample and obtain results using a portable device while still in the ambulance.

They will also assess the patient with a decision aid called the troponin-only Manchester acute coronary syndromes (T-MACS), which indicates how likely it is that a person has a serious heart problem according to their symptoms and basic tests.

Immediate reassurance

If a person is not deemed to have a serious heart condition they can be cared for in the community and will not be taken to hospital.

The study’s chief investigator, Manchester Royal Infirmary professor of emergency medicine Rick Body, said: ‘Paramedics are highly skilled professionals but until now they simply haven’t had the equipment they need to be sure if patients have serious heart problems. That means patients with chest pain are routinely taken to hospital for tests, which is inconvenient for patients and inefficient for the NHS.’

He added that using portable blood testing devices to run tests without patients having to go to hospital could have a huge impact. ‘Patients who don’t have serious heart problems could receive almost immediate reassurance with minimal impact on their lives. Ambulances could respond faster to people who most need their help and EDs will be less crowded, which will help to reduce waiting times.’

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