Miller R, Stokes T, Nixon G. Point-of-care troponin use in New Zealand rural hospitals: a national survey. New Zealand Medical Journal. 2019;132(1493):13.
Not a great surprise: most rural hospitals do not have timely access to the same troponin assays that metropolitan hospitals rely on, instead reliant on less sensitive point-of-care troponin. A significant number of NSTEMI maybe missed using POC troponin at the manufacturer’s cut-off and we have an observational study underway evaluating a pathway that will limit these missed AMI.(1,2) This pathway has been shown to be effective in a pilot run in a low-risk primary care population.(3) There is also hope as discussed previously that a new high precision point-of-care assay will bring rural chest pain assessment in line with urban hospitals.(4)
“The results of this survey reinforce the importance of considering the context and resources of all New Zealand hospitals when making recommendations at a national level, such as the adoption of ADPs. Failure to do so can confuse clinical practice in our small rural hospitals that have access to fewer resources and risks exacerbating existing inequities.”
AIMS: Accelerated diagnostic chest pain pathways (ADP) have become standard of care in urban emergency departments. It is, however, unknown how widely they are used in New Zealand’s rural hospitals because ADP require immediate access to contemporary or high-sensitivity troponin (hs-Tn). We aimed to determine for rural hospitals the troponin assay being used, if they were using an ADP and if they had access to on-site exercise tolerance testing (ETT).
METHODS: An online survey was sent to 27 rural hospitals providing acute care in New Zealand.
RESULTS: Most rural hospitals (23/27, 85%) responded to the survey. Most (17/23, 74%) used point-of- care cardiac troponin (POC-cTn) and the majority of these hospitals (15/17, 88%) were reliant on this assay 24-hours per day. All hospitals that had timely access to hs-Tn (8/23, 35%) used an ADP but only a minority (4/17, 24%) of hospitals using POC-cTn used an ADP. Only a minority of the larger rural hospitals (7/23, 30%) had access to on-site ETT.
CONCLUSIONS: Most New Zealand rural hospitals rely on POC-cTn to assess chest pain and are not using an ADP. There are limited data available to support this approach in rural settings especially with patients who are not low-risk.
1. Miller R, Nixon G. The assessment of acute chest pain in New Zealand rural hospitals utilising point-of-care troponin. Journal of Primary Health Care. 2018;10(1):90–2.
2. Schneider HG, Ablitt P, Taylor J. Improved sensitivity of point of care troponin I values using reporting to below the 99th percentile of normals. Clinical Biochemistry. 2013 Aug;46(12):979–82.
3. Norman T, Devlin G, Than M, George P, Young J, Egan G, et al. Measured Implementation of an Accelerated Chest Pain Diagnostic Pathway in Primary Care. Heart, Lung and Circulation. 2018 Jan;27:S4–5.
4. Pickering JW, Young JM, George PM, Watson AS, Aldous SJ, Troughton RW, et al. Validity of a Novel Point-of-Care Troponin Assay for Single-Test Rule-Out of Acute Myocardial Infarction. JAMA Cardiology. 2018 Oct;