Background: Patients with acute chest pain are often referred to the emergency ward and extensively investigated. Investigations are costly and could induce unnecessary complications, especially with invasive diagnostics. Nevertheless, chest pain patients have high mortalities. Fast identification of high-risk patients is crucial. Therefore several strategies have been developed including specific symptoms, signs, laboratory measurements, and imaging.
Methods/Design: The Quick Identification of acute Chest pain Study (QICS) will investigate whether a combined use of specific symptoms and signs, electrocardiography, routine and new laboratory measures, adjunctive imaging including electron beam (EBT) computed tomography (CT) and contrast multislice CT (MSCT) will have a high diagnostic yield for patients with acute chest pain. All patients will be investigated according a standardized protocol in the Emergency Department. Serum and plasma will be frozen for future analysis for a wide range of biomarkers at a later time point. The primary endpoint is the safe recognition of low-risk chest pain patients directly at presentation. Secondary endpoint is the identification of a wide range of sensitive predictive clinical markers, chemical biomarkers and radiological markers in acute chest pain patients. Chemical biomarkers will be compared to quantitative CT measurements of coronary atherosclerosis as a surrogate endpoint. Chemical biomarkers will also be compared in head to head comparison and for their additional value.
Discussion: This will be a very extensive investigation of a wide range of risk predictors in acute chest pain patients. New reliable fast and cheap diagnostic algorithm resulting from the test results might improve chest pain patients' prognosis, and reduce unnecessary costs and diagnostic complications.