Chest Pain Management Using Prehospital Point-of-Care Troponin and Paramedic Risk Assessment

Luke P. Dawson, Emily Nehme, Ziad Nehme, Ella Zomer, Jason Bloom, Shelley Cox, David Anderson, Michael Stephenson, Jocasta Ball, Jennifer Zhou, Jeffrey Lefkovits, Andrew J. Taylor, Mark Horrigan, Derek P. Chew, David Kaye, Louise Cullen, Cathrine Mihalopoulos, Karen Smith, Dion Stub

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10 Citations (Scopus)


Importance: Prehospital point-of-care troponin testing and paramedic risk stratification might improve the efficiency of chest pain care pathways compared with existing processes with equivalent health outcomes, but the association with health care costs is unclear. Objective: To analyze whether prehospital point-of-care troponin testing and paramedic risk stratification could result in cost savings compared with existing chest pain care pathways. Design, Setting, and Participants: In this economic evaluation of adults with acute chest pain without ST-segment elevation, cost-minimization analysis was used to assess linked ambulance, emergency, and hospital attendance in the state of Victoria, Australia, between January 1, 2015, and June 30, 2019. Interventions: Paramedic risk stratification and point-of-care troponin testing. Main Outcomes and Measures: The outcome was estimated mean annualized statewide costs for acute chest pain. Between May 17 and June 25, 2022, decision tree models were developed to estimate costs under 3 pathways: (1) existing care, (2) paramedic risk stratification and point-of-care troponin testing without prehospital discharge, or (3) prehospital discharge and referral to a virtual emergency department (ED) for low-risk patients. Probabilities for the prehospital pathways were derived from a review of the literature. Multivariable probabilistic sensitivity analysis with 50000 Monte Carlo iterations was used to estimate mean costs and cost differences among pathways. Results: A total of 188551 patients attended by ambulance for chest pain (mean [SD] age, 61.9 [18.3] years; 50.5% female; 49.5% male; Indigenous Australian, 2.0%) were included in the model. Estimated annualized infrastructure and staffing costs for the point-of-care troponin pathways, assuming a 5-year device life span, was $2.27 million for the pathway without prehospital discharge and $4.60 million for the pathway with prehospital discharge (incorporating virtual ED costs). In the decision tree model, total annual cost using prehospital point-of-care troponin and paramedic risk stratification was lower compared with existing care both without prehospital discharge (cost savings, $6.45 million; 95% uncertainty interval [UI], $0.59-$16.52 million; lower in 94.1% of iterations) and with prehospital discharge (cost savings, $42.84 million; 95% UI, $19.35-$72.26 million; lower in 100% of iterations). Conclusions and Relevance: Prehospital point-of-care troponin and paramedic risk stratification for patients with acute chest pain could result in substantial cost savings. These findings should be considered by policy makers in decisions surrounding the potential utility of prehospital chest pain risk stratification and point-of-care troponin models provided that safety is confirmed in prospective studies..

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)203-211
Number of pages9
JournalJAMA Internal Medicine
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 6 Mar 2023

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