The Atypical is Typical for ACS in Older Adults
With Dr. Amal Mattu
Chest pain is one of the most common reasons why people present to the ED. The chief complaint of “Chest Pain” typically triggers an automatic EKG, and potentially a workup for acute coronary syndrome (ACS). However, many patients who are having ACS do not present with chest pain. Instead, they may have dyspnea, diaphoresis, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, or other non-specific symptoms. Which patients are most likely to present this way? Older adults. In this GEMCAST, Amal Mattu talks about ACS presentations, workup, and management in older adults, and why the atypical is typical!
And the older the patient, the more likely they are to be chest-pain free when they present with an NSTEMI or STEMI. So it is up to the medical provider to be vigilant, consider possible angina equivalents, and order the right workup. Dr. Mattu talks us through some of the statistics of how often MIs occur without chest pain with age, how EKG interpretation may differ, and how management should differ vs how it does differ. Patients presenting with atypical symptoms are less likely to receive an aspirin or thrombolytics/PCI, and their mortality is higher.
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Dr. Christina Shenvi is an associate professor of Emergency Medicine at the University of North Carolina. She is fellowship-trained in Geriatric Emergency Medicine and is the founder of GEMCast. She is the director of the UNC Office of Academic Excellence, president of the Association of Professional Women in Medical Sciences, co-directs the ACEP/CORD Teaching Fellowship, is on the Annals of EM editorial board, is on the Geriatric ED Accreditation board of governors, and she teaches and writes about time management at timeforyourlife.org.