The prognostic value of HEART score in patients with cocaine associated chest pain: An age-and-sex matched cohort study

Published:August 26, 2020DOI:



      HEART score is widely used to stratify patients with chest pain in the emergency department but has never been validated for cocaine-associated chest pain (CACP). We sought to evaluate the performance of HEART score in risk stratifying patients with CACP compared to an age- and sex-matched cohort with non-CACP.


      The parent study was an observational cohort study that enrolled consecutive patients with chest pain. We identified patients with CACP and age/sex matched them to patients with non-CACP in 1:2 fashion. HEART score was calculated retrospectively from charts. The primary outcome was major adverse cardiac events (MACE) within 30 days of indexed encounter.


      We included 156 patients with CACP and 312 age-and sex-matched patients with non-CACP (n = 468, mean age 51 ± 9, 22% females). There was no difference in rate of MACE between the groups (17.9% vs. 15.7%, p = 0.54). Compared to the non-CACP group, the HEART score had lower classification performance in those with CACP (AUC = 0.68 [0.56–0.80] vs. 0.84 [0.78–0.90], p = 0.022). In CACP group, Troponin score had the highest discriminatory value (AUC = 0.72 [0.60–0.85]) and Risk factors score had the lowest (AUC = 0.47 [0.34–0.59]). In patients deemed low-risk by the HEART score, those with CACP were more likely to experience MACE (14% vs. 4%, OR = 3.7 [1.3–10.7], p = 0.016).


      In patients with CACP, HEART score performs poorly in stratifying risk and is not recommended as a rule out tool to identify those at low risk of MACE.


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