The “Delta Trop” is not a rule out test! It should be used in conjunction with the HEART score to have a conversation with the patient about risks/benefits of discharge vs admission during a low-risk chest pain evaluation.
The “Delta Trop” refers to serial troponin testing, anywhere from 2 to 6 hours between the first and second troponin. As troponin testing has improved, the time between each test has been lowered. The most recent data recommends 3 hours between each troponin when the high-sensitivity test is used. The delta troponin is not a “Rule Out”; it is used in addition to the rest of the patient’s visit to help risk stratify them into low, moderate, or high risk chest pain.
The HEART Pathway combines the patient’s HEART score with two serial troponins at zero and three hours. Observational studies showed 20% of patients with chest pain can be safely discharged utilizing this protocol, while maintaining a negative predictive value of Major Cardiac Event at >99%. This is actually a lower rate of MACE than the traditional HEART score alone (1.0% versus 1.7%). A recent controlled trial increased early discharges by 21.3%, decreased cardiac testing by 12.1%, and decreased length of stay by 12 hours!
Just because we are discharging people, however, doesn’t mean they have been ‘ruled out’ for cardiac issues. Remember, 1% of those discharged had a major cardiac event within 30 days. The “Delta Trop” should be used as a shared decision making tool where the patient is provided the information and risks/benefits of admission versus discharge. Attached is the University of Maryland shared decision making tool, which is used in conjunction with a bedside discussion, to explain the risks and benefits.
Shared Decision Making
When you identify a patient with a low heart score (1-3) you can use this dotphrase to improve your documentation of your shared decision making conversation, and to make sure you are not forgetting alternative causes of chest pain. Remember, that by hitting “F3” your cursor will jump to the next “_”
Patient HEART score 0-3, with risk of MACE 1.7% within 6 weeks, discussed with patient the potential for symptoms to be cardiac in nature and the need for follow up and return precautions. Other potential causes of the patient's presentation were considered; PERC _. Well's _. Pain not consistent with aortic etiology. Physical exam reassuring without signs of pneumothorax, pulmonary infection, heart failure exacerbation, or respiratory failure. Initial troponin negative. Discussed with patient the possibility of approximately 2% of an adverse cardiac event within the next 4-6 weeks, as well as options for further treatment, including observation admission, a second troponin at 3 hours, or discharge. After this discussion, the patient elected to _.