Suspected angina patients missing out on angiograms

Over two-thirds of patients referred to rapid access chest pain clinics with suspected angina do not undergo coronary angiography, UK research has shown.

Follow-up showed that missing out on this diagnostic tool was associated with a higher rate of death from CHD and an increased risk of hospital admission for unstable angina or MI.

The findings come from a study of 10,634 patients with suspected stable angina who attended six chest pain clinics between January 1996 and December 2002. 

Of these, 1,375 were considered to need an angiography by an independent panel of doctors.

But three years later, just 31 per cent had undergone the procedure. 

Closer analysis showed that the over-65s, women, south Asian patients and those in the least deprived fifth of the population were most likely to miss out on coronary angiography.

Although the researchers are unsure why these people are missing out, they suggest it could be down to patient choice or referral methods.

BMJ website

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