Chest pain in general practice: A systematic review of prediction rules

Ralf E. Harskamp, Simone C. Laeven, Jelle C. Himmelreich, Wim A. M. Lucassen, Henk C. P. M. van Weert

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Objective To identify and assess the performance of clinical decision rules (CDR) for chest pain in general practice. Design Systematic review of diagnostic studies. Data sources Medline/Pubmed, Embase/Ovid, CINAHL/EBSCO and Google Scholar up to October 2018. Study selection Studies that assessed CDRs for intermittent-type chest pain and for rule out of acute coronary syndrome (ACS) applicable in general practice, thus not relying on advanced laboratory, computer or diagnostic testing. Review methods Reviewers identified studies, extracted data and assessed the quality of the evidence (using Quality Assessment of Diagnostic Accuracy Studies (QUADAS-2)), independently and in duplicate. Results Eight studies comprising five CDRs met the inclusion criteria. Three CDRs are designed for rule out of coronary disease in intermittent-type chest pain (Gencer rule, Marburg Heart Score, INTERCHEST), and two for rule out of ACS (Grijseels rule, Bruins Slot rule). Studies that examined the Marburg Heart Score had the highest methodological quality with consistent sensitivity (86%-91%), specificity (61%-81%) and positive (23%-35%) and negative (97%-98%) predictive values (PPV and NPV). The diagnostic performance of Gencer (PPV: 20%-34%, NPV: 95%-99%) and INTERCHEST (PPV: 35%-43%, NPV: 96%-98%) appear comparable, but requires further validation. The Marburg Heart Score was more sensitive in detecting coronary disease than the clinical judgement of the general practitioner. The performance of CDRs that focused on rule out of ACS were: Grijseels rule (sensitivity: 91%, specificity: 37%, PPV: 57%, NPV: 82%) and Bruins Slot (sensitivity: 97%, specificity: 10%, PPV: 23%, NPV: 92%). Compared with clinical judgement, the Bruins Slot rule appeared to be safer than clinical judgement alone, but the study was limited in sample size. Conclusions In general practice, there is currently no clinical decision aid that can safely rule out ACS. For intermittent chest pain, several rules exist, of which the Marburg Heart Score has been most extensively tested and appears to outperform clinical judgement alone.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere027081
Pages (from-to)e027081
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 27 Feb 2019

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