Heart, Lung and Circulation

Emergency Department Assessment of Suspected Acute Coronary Syndrome Using the IMPACT Pathway in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People

Published:March 22, 2022DOI:


      The Improved Assessment of Chest pain Trial (IMPACT) pathway is an accelerated strategy for the assessment of emergency patients presenting with suspected acute coronary syndrome (ACS). The objective of this study was to report outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients deemed low-, intermediate-, or high-risk according to this pathway.


      This was a prospective observational trial conducted between November 2017 and December 2019.


      Regional hospital in Far North Queensland.


      Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people presenting to the Emergency Department with suspected ACS were asked to participate. Participants were stratified as low-, intermediate- or high-risk of ACS according to the IMPACT pathway. High-and intermediate risk patients were managed according to the IMPACT pathway. Management of low-risk patients included additional inpatient cardiac testing, which was not part of the original IMPACT pathway.

      Main Outcome Measures

      The primary outcome was acute coronary syndrome within 30-days. Secondary outcomes included length of stay and prevalence of objective testing.


      A total of 155 participants were classified as either at low-risk (n=18 11.6%), intermediate-risk (n=87 56.1%), or high-risk (n=50 32.3%) of ACS. Thirty-day (30-day) ACS occurred in 29 (18.6%) patients, which included 26 (52.0%) high-risk patients and three (3.4%) intermediate-risk patients. No patients in the low-risk group were diagnosed with ACS during their index presentation or by 30-days. Median hospital length-of-stay was 11.9 hours (interquartile range [IQR] 5.3–20.2 hrs) for low- and 15.5 hours (IQR 5.9–29.2 hrs) for intermediate-risk patients.


      The IMPACT pathway, which has been associated with reduced LOS in other settings, could be safely implemented for patients of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander origin, classifying two-thirds as low- or intermediate risk. However, a clinically significant proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients experience cardiac events, which supports the need to provide early objective testing for coronary artery disease.


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