June 21, 2009
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I remember when the Goldman myocardial infarction (MI) algorithm came out, quickly followed by a seven-button hand-held "calculator." It promised to reduce all decision-making regarding ED chest pain patients to seven yes or no questions. But when you looked into the mathematics, if you answered no or negative to all of the questions, it indicated a 4% chance of acute cardiac ischemia. So, what would you do with this information? Could you tell the patient that there was only a 4% chance of a heart attack, so it was OK to go home?