Evaluating Sex Disparities in the Emergency Department Management of Patients With Suspected Acute Coronary Syndrome

Salena M. Preciado, Adam L. Sharp, Benjamin C. Sun, Aileen Baecker, Yi Lin Wu, Ming Sum Lee, Ernest Shen, Maros Ferencik, Shaw Natsui, Aniket A. Kawatkar, Stacy J. Park, Rita F. Redberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Study objective: We compare clinical management and outcomes of emergency department (ED) encounters by sex after implementation of a clinical care pathway in 15 community EDs that standardized recommendations based on patient risk, using the History, ECG, Age, Risk Factors, and Troponin (HEART) score. Methods: This was a retrospective analysis of adult ED encounters evaluated for suspected acute coronary syndrome with a documented HEART score from May 20, 2016, to December 1, 2017. The primary outcomes were hospitalization or 30-day stress testing. Secondary outcomes included 30-day acute myocardial infarction or all-cause death (major adverse cardiac event). A generalized estimating equation regression model was used to compare the odds of hospitalization or stress testing by sex; we report HEART scores (0 to 10) stratified by sex and describing major adverse cardiac events. Results: A total of 34,715 adult ED encounters met the inclusion criteria (56.0% women). A higher proportion of women were classified as low risk (60.5% versus 52.4%; odds ratio [OR] 1.39; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.33 to 1.45). Women were hospitalized or received stress testing less frequently than men for low HEART scores (18.8% versus 22.8%; OR 0.79; 95% CI 0.73 to 0.84) and intermediate ones (46.7% versus 49.7%; OR 0.88; 95% CI 0.83 to 0.95), but similarly for high-risk ones (74.1% versus 74.4%; OR 0.99; 95% CI 0.77 to 1.28). Women had 18% lower odds of hospitalization or noninvasive cardiac testing (OR 0.82; 95% CI 0.78 to 0.86), even after adjusting for HEART score and comorbidities. Men had higher risks of major adverse cardiac events than women for all HEART score categories but the risk for men was significantly higher among low-risk HEART scores (0.4% versus 0.1%). Conclusion: Women with low-risk HEART scores are hospitalized or stress tested less than men, which is likely appropriate, and women have better outcomes than men. Use of the HEART score has the potential to reduce sex disparities in acute coronary syndrome care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)416-424
Number of pages9
JournalAnnals of emergency medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine


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