Unexpected Cardiac MRI Findings in Patients Presenting to the Emergency Department for Possible Acute Coronary Syndrome.


Stress cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (CMR) has become increasingly used in patients presenting to the emergency department (ED) with symptoms concerning for acute coronary syndrome (ACS). We hypothesized that CMR detects a number of alternative diagnoses (diagnoses other than ACS that could explain symptoms) and incidental findings in patients presenting to the ED for potential ACS.We prospectively enrolled adult patients who presented to an academic ED from 2011 to 2015 for possible ACS and subsequently had an adenosine stress perfusion CMR as part of their diagnostic evaluation. All medical charts were reviewed to verify accurate prospective data collection and to collect follow-up data.A total of 391 patients were included. On stress CMR, abnormalities attributable to coronary artery disease (CAD) were found in 106 (27.1%) of patients. Previously undiagnosed moderate to severe valvular disease was the most common non-CAD cardiac finding, occurring in 20 (5.1%) cases. Other alternative diagnoses were rare with 7 cases of cardiomyopathy, 1 case of aortic aneurysm, 1 case of aortic dissection, 1 case of acute myocarditis, 3 cases of pericarditis, and 2 cases of moderate pleural effusion. Cardiac incidental findings were rare. Extracardiac incidental findings were found in 79 patients (20.2%). Only 18.6% of the patients recommended for follow-up imaging had this completed within 1 year after CMR.This experience suggests that stress CMR is useful in not only diagnosing symptomatic CAD but also potentially important non-CAD-related disease. These factors may impact their use in ED-based ACS workups.






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Publication Info

Ziegler, Cole E, David M Painter, Joseph B Borawski, Raymond J Kim, Han W Kim and Alexander T Limkakeng (2018). Unexpected Cardiac MRI Findings in Patients Presenting to the Emergency Department for Possible Acute Coronary Syndrome. Critical pathways in cardiology, 17(3). pp. 167–171. 10.1097/hpc.0000000000000148 Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/17306.

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Joseph Brian Borawski

Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine

Han Woong Kim

Associate Professor of Medicine

Alexander Tan Limkakeng

Professor of Emergency Medicine

Dr. Alexander T. Limkakeng, Jr., MD, MHSc, FACEP is a Professor of Emergency Medicine, Vice Chair of Clinical Research, Director of the Acute Care Research Team, and Director of the Resident Research Fellowship for the Department of Emergency Medicine in the Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, North Carolina.

Dr. Limkakeng has served as chair of the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) Research Committee, and been the Course Director of the ACEP Research Forum from 2016-2018, the largest emergency medical research platform in the nation. He is also the Assistant Director of ACEP’s Emergency Medicine Basic Research Skills course. He was elected to the Nominating Committee of the Society of Academic Emergency Medicine.

As a researcher, Dr. Limkakeng has led multiple clinical trials and interdepartmental sponsored projects and is author on over 100 peer-reviewed manuscripts. These include studies in emergency conditions such as COVID-19, traumatic brain injury, hypertension, heart failure, thrombosis, stroke, envenomations, and septic shock. His research has been funded by grants and contracts totaling over $9 million dollars. He has lectured internationally on acute coronary syndrome, responsible conduct of research, design of clinical trials, and precision medicine in emergency care. He has led Duke’s involvement in NIH-funded research networks and in industry-funded work that led to FDA approval for multiple high-sensitivity cardiac troponin assays and point-of-care COVID-19 diagnostic tests. He has servesd as Co-PI for the Duke U24 Hub in the NIH Early Phase Pain Investigation Clinical Network (EPPIC-Net) (1U24NS114416) and now serves as a co-PI on the Duke U24 Hub award (1U24NS129498) in the NIH Strategies to Innovate Emergency Care Clinical Trials (SIREN) Network and in the NIH NINDS Strokenet network (1U24NS135250)

His personal research interest is finding new ways to diagnose acute coronary syndrome. In particular, he is interested in novel biomarkers and precision medicine approaches to this problem. The common element throughout this work is a focus on time-sensitive health conditions.

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