Are Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders Risk Factors for Missed Acute Myocardial Infarction Diagnoses Among Chest Pain or Dyspnea Encounters in the Emergency Department?

Sharp, Adam L., MD, MSc, Pallegadda, Rani, MD, MPH, Baecker, Aileen, PhD, Park, Stacy, PhD, Nassery, Najlla, MD, MPH, Hassoon, Ahmed, MD, MPH, Peterson, Susan, MD, Pitts, Samantha I., MD, Wang, Zheyu, PhD, Zhu, Yuxin, PhD, and Newman-Toker, David E., MD, PhD.

Study objectiveTo assess if having a mental health and/or substance use disorder is associated with a missed acute myocardial infarction diagnosis in the emergency department (ED). MethodsThis was a retrospective cohort analysis (2009 to 2017) of …

Study objective

To assess if having a mental health and/or substance use disorder is associated with a missed acute myocardial infarction diagnosis in the emergency department (ED).

Methods

This was a retrospective cohort analysis (2009 to 2017) of adult ED encounters at Kaiser Permanente Southern California. We used the validated symptom-disease pair analysis of diagnostic error methodological approach to “look back” and “look forward” and identify missed acute myocardial infarctions within 30 days of a treat-and-release ED visit. We use adjusted logistic regression to report the odds of missed acute myocardial infarction among patients with a history of mental health and/or substance use disorders.

Results

The look-back analysis identified 44,473 acute myocardial infarction hospital encounters; 574 (1.3%) diagnoses were missed. The odds of missed diagnoses were higher in patients with mental health disorders (odds ratio [OR] 1.48, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.23 to 1.77) but not in those with substance abuse disorders (OR 1.22, 95% CI 0.91 to 1.62). The highest risk was observed in those with co-occurring disorders (OR 1.90, 95% CI 1.30 to 2.76). The look-forward analysis identified 325,088 chest pain/dyspnea ED encounters; 508 (0.2%) were missed acute myocardial infarctions. No significant associations of missed acute myocardial infarction were revealed in either group (mental health disorder: OR 0.92, 95% CI 0.71 to 1.18; substance use disorder: OR 1.22, 95% CI 0.80 to 1.85).

Conclusion

The look-back analysis identified patients with mental illness at increased risk of missed acute myocardial infarction diagnosis, with the highest risk observed in those with a history of comorbid substance abuse. Having substance use disorders alone did not increase this risk in either cohort. The look-forward analysis revealed challenges in prospectively identifying high-risk patients to target for improvement.

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