A descriptive study of the use of troponin I testing at a Cape Town district hospital

Master Thesis


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Introduction: Troponin I tests have been shown to be accurate and are relied upon to assist in making critical decisions regarding patient care in patients presenting with chest pain. The tests are expensive, however, and so their rational use becomes extremely important in a budget-constrained public health sector. The aim of this study was to describe how Troponin I tests are used throughout Victoria Hospital, by a range of requesting clinicians, working in different specialties. Methods A cross-sectional, prospective design was employed, using multiple data sources. We collected a consecutive sample over a three-month period from Victoria hospital’s Emergency Centre using a dedicated data collection tool connected to use of the point-of-care troponin I test. We supplemented this prospective sample with outcome data, using the hospital’s electronic admission record. Results Three hundred and sixteen patient entries were included in the final results. The majority of Troponin tests were negative (70%). Discharge directly from Emergency Centre was 10% in Troponin I positive patients, 37,5% in Equivocal Troponin patients, and 65% in Troponin negative patients. Furthermore, patients were twice as likely to be transferred to a tertiary facility if their Troponin was positive (24%), compared to equivocal (10.4%) or negative (12%). Discussion Chest pain was the most common presenting complaint, with Acute Coronary Syndrome being the most common working diagnosis. The clinical management of patients varied considerably when comparing their Troponin I result. Troponin I appears to be used as an effective rule-out tool in the decision-making pathway.