Chest Pain Relief by Nitroglycerin Does Not Predict Active Coronary Artery Disease

Charles Henrikson, Eric E. Howell, David E. Bush, J. Shawn Miles, Glenn R. Meininger, Tracy Friedlander, Andrew C. Bushnell, Nisha Chandra-Strobos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

83 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: The belief that chest pain relief with nitroglycerin indicates the presence of active coronary artery disease is common. However, this hypothesis has not been tested. Objective: To define the diagnostic and prognostic value of chest pain relief with nitroglycerin. Design: Prospective observational cohort study. Setting: Urban community teaching hospital. Patients: 459 consecutive patients with chest pain admitted through the emergency department who received nitroglycerin from emergency services personnel or an emergency department nurse. Follow-up was obtained by telephone contact at 4 months. Measurements: Chest pain relief was defined as a decrease of at least 50% in patients' self-reported pain within 5 minutes of the initial dose of sublingual or spray nitroglycerin. Active coronary artery disease was defined as any elevated serum enzyme levels, coronary angiography demonstrating a 70% or greater stenosis, or a positive exercise test result. Results: Nitroglycerin relieved chest pain in 39% of patients (181 of 459). In patients with active coronary artery disease as the likely cause of their chest pain, 35% (49 of 141) had chest pain relief with nitroglycerin. In contrast, in patients without active coronary artery disease, 41% (113 of 275) had chest pain relief (P > 0.2). Four-month clinical outcomes were similar in patients with or without chest pain relief with nitroglycerin (P > 0.2). Conclusions: These data suggest that, in a general population admitted for chest pain, relief of pain after nitroglycerin treatment does not predict active coronary artery disease and should not be used to guide diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)979-986+I30
JournalAnnals of Internal Medicine
Volume139
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 16 2003
Externally publishedYes

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Nitroglycerin
Chest Pain
Coronary Artery Disease
Hospital Emergency Service
Pain
Urban Hospitals
Community Hospital
Coronary Angiography
Exercise Test
Telephone
Teaching Hospitals
Observational Studies
Pathologic Constriction
Emergencies
Cohort Studies
Nurses

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Henrikson, C., Howell, E. E., Bush, D. E., Miles, J. S., Meininger, G. R., Friedlander, T., ... Chandra-Strobos, N. (2003). Chest Pain Relief by Nitroglycerin Does Not Predict Active Coronary Artery Disease. Annals of Internal Medicine, 139(12), 979-986+I30.

Chest Pain Relief by Nitroglycerin Does Not Predict Active Coronary Artery Disease. / Henrikson, Charles; Howell, Eric E.; Bush, David E.; Miles, J. Shawn; Meininger, Glenn R.; Friedlander, Tracy; Bushnell, Andrew C.; Chandra-Strobos, Nisha.

In: Annals of Internal Medicine, Vol. 139, No. 12, 16.12.2003, p. 979-986+I30.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Henrikson, C, Howell, EE, Bush, DE, Miles, JS, Meininger, GR, Friedlander, T, Bushnell, AC & Chandra-Strobos, N 2003, 'Chest Pain Relief by Nitroglycerin Does Not Predict Active Coronary Artery Disease', Annals of Internal Medicine, vol. 139, no. 12, pp. 979-986+I30.
Henrikson C, Howell EE, Bush DE, Miles JS, Meininger GR, Friedlander T et al. Chest Pain Relief by Nitroglycerin Does Not Predict Active Coronary Artery Disease. Annals of Internal Medicine. 2003 Dec 16;139(12):979-986+I30.
Henrikson, Charles ; Howell, Eric E. ; Bush, David E. ; Miles, J. Shawn ; Meininger, Glenn R. ; Friedlander, Tracy ; Bushnell, Andrew C. ; Chandra-Strobos, Nisha. / Chest Pain Relief by Nitroglycerin Does Not Predict Active Coronary Artery Disease. In: Annals of Internal Medicine. 2003 ; Vol. 139, No. 12. pp. 979-986+I30.
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abstract = "Background: The belief that chest pain relief with nitroglycerin indicates the presence of active coronary artery disease is common. However, this hypothesis has not been tested. Objective: To define the diagnostic and prognostic value of chest pain relief with nitroglycerin. Design: Prospective observational cohort study. Setting: Urban community teaching hospital. Patients: 459 consecutive patients with chest pain admitted through the emergency department who received nitroglycerin from emergency services personnel or an emergency department nurse. Follow-up was obtained by telephone contact at 4 months. Measurements: Chest pain relief was defined as a decrease of at least 50{\%} in patients' self-reported pain within 5 minutes of the initial dose of sublingual or spray nitroglycerin. Active coronary artery disease was defined as any elevated serum enzyme levels, coronary angiography demonstrating a 70{\%} or greater stenosis, or a positive exercise test result. Results: Nitroglycerin relieved chest pain in 39{\%} of patients (181 of 459). In patients with active coronary artery disease as the likely cause of their chest pain, 35{\%} (49 of 141) had chest pain relief with nitroglycerin. In contrast, in patients without active coronary artery disease, 41{\%} (113 of 275) had chest pain relief (P > 0.2). Four-month clinical outcomes were similar in patients with or without chest pain relief with nitroglycerin (P > 0.2). Conclusions: These data suggest that, in a general population admitted for chest pain, relief of pain after nitroglycerin treatment does not predict active coronary artery disease and should not be used to guide diagnosis.",
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