A lot of folks treated for chest pain in emergency rooms don’t follow up with a heart doctor — possibly increasing their chance of dying.
That’s the finding in a new Canadian study that revealed a quarter of high risk chest pain patients didn’t seek follow-up care after leaving the ER. Those who didn’t follow up within a month received the lowest rate of care and had the worst health outcomes in the study.
On the other hand, patients who saw a cardiologist within a month after leaving the ER were 21 percent less likely to have a heart attack or die within the year. And patients who followed up with a primary care physician were about 7 percent less likely to have a heart attack or die compared to those who didn’t follow up.
Chest pain is the most common reason people go to the emergency room in developed countries and accounts for more than 5 million ER visits each year in the United States.