Improving care for people with suspected acute coronary syndrome


Acute coronary syndrome (ACS) refers to a range of heart problems caused by blocked arteries or coronary artery disease. Symptoms of ACS include pain, pressure, heaviness or tightness in the chest, jaw, arms, back or shoulders. You may also feel sick, be in a cold sweat, dizzy and short of breath.

Chest pain is a common and important reason for people to go to an Emergency Department. Currently, when you present at a hospital with symptoms of ACS, including chest pain, different hospitals have different ways to determine whether or not you have ACS.

An expert working group including clinicians and consumers from across the state has developed a new Emergency Department pathway for people with suspected ACS to ensure you receive consistent, quality care across the system.

The new pathway:

  • provides a consistent way to assess whether you have ACS or have had a heart attack, based on the best evidence available
  • ensures you receive the same high standard of care at every Emergency Department
  • uses a range of tests to quickly assess your risk level
  • enables fast, appropriate care for people identified as “high risk” or diagnosed with a heart attack, including close observation and/or admission to hospital
  • allows people identified as “low risk” to be treated outside of the hospital environment, such as at a hospital outpatient department or by a General Practitioner (GP).

The pathway will be implemented in 2017.

To find out more about the pathway, view the Consumer Guide (PDF 183KB) or watch the video below.

Emergency Department pathway for patients with suspected acute coronary syndrome

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