Rationale and design of a cohort study evaluating triage of acute chest pain in out-of-hours primary care in the Netherlands (TRACE)

Amy Manten, Cuny J. J. Cuijpers, Remco Rietveld, Emma Groot, Freek van de Graaf, Sandra Voerman, Jelle C. L. Himmelreich, Wim A. M. Lucassen, Henk C. P. M. van Weert, Ralf E. Harskamp

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Abstract

The aims of this study are (1) to evaluate the performance of current triage for chest pain; (2) to describe the case mix of patients undergoing triage for chest pain; and (3) to identify opportunities to improve performance of current Dutch triage system for chest pain. Chest pain is a common symptom, and identifying patients with chest pain that require urgent care can be quite challenging. Making the correct assessment is even harder during telephone triage. Temporal trends show that the referral threshold has lowered over time, resulting in overcrowding of first responders and emergency services. While various stakeholders advocate for a more efficient triage system, careful evaluation of the performance of the current triage in primary care is lacking. TRiage of Acute Chest pain Evaluation in primary care (TRACE) is a large cohort study designed to describe the current Dutch triage system for chest pain and subsequently evaluate triage performance in regard to clinical outcomes. The study consists of consecutive patients who contacted the out-of-hours primary care facility with chest pain in the region of Alkmaar, the Netherlands, in 2017, with follow-up for clinical outcomes out to August 2019. The primary outcome of interest is 'major event', which is defined as the occurrence of death from any cause, acute coronary syndrome, urgent coronary revascularization, or other high-risk diagnoses in which delay is inadmissible and hospitalization is necessary. We will evaluate the performance of the triage system by assessing the ability of the triage system to correctly classify patients regarding urgency (accuracy), the proportion of safe actions following triage (safety) as well as rightfully deployed ambulances (efficacy). TRACE is designed to describe the current Dutch triage system for chest pain in primary care and to subsequently evaluate triage performance in regard to clinical outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere10
JournalPrimary health care research and development
Volume21
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Keywords

  • acute coronary syndrome
  • chest pain
  • primary care
  • triage

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