Predictors of positive chest radiography in non-traumatic chest pain in the emergency department

Nabil Al Zadjali, Rasha Al-Senawi*, Abdullah Al Reesi, Ibrahim Al-Zakwani, Joe Nemeth, Jeffrey J. Perry

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: To determine predictors associated with positive chest x-ray finding in patients presenting with non-traumatic chest pain in the Emergency Department (ED). Methods: Health records, including the final radiology reports of all patients who presented with non-traumatic chest pain and had a chest x-ray performed in an urban Canadian tertiary care ED over four consecutive months were reviewed. Demographic and clinical variables were also extracted. Chest x-ray findings were categorized as normal (either normal or no significant change from previous x-rays) or abnormal. Descriptive statistics were used to describe the data. Multivariable logistic regression was used to determine the association between various predictors and chest x-ray finding (positive/negative). Results: The 330 study patients had the following characteristics: mean age 58±20 years; female 41% (n=134). Patients’ chief complaints were only chest pain 75% (n=248), chest pain with shortness of breath 12% (n=41), chest pain with palpitation 4% (n=14), chest pain with other complaints 9% (n=28). Chest x-rays were reported as normal or no acute changes in 81% (n=266) of patients, and abnormal in 19% (n=64) of patients. The most common abnormal chest x-ray diagnoses were congestive heart failure (n=28; 8%) and pneumonia (n=17; 5%). Those with abnormal chest x-ray findings were significantly older (71 versus 55 years; p<0.001), had chest pain with shortness of breath (36% versus 11%; p<0.001), had significant past medical history (39% versus 14%; p<0.001), and were also tachypnoic (31% versus 12%; p<0.001). Conclusion: This study found that patients with non-traumatic chest pain are likely to have a normal chest x-ray if they were young, not tachypnoeic or short of breath, and had no significant past medical history. A larger study is required to confirm these findings.

Original languageEnglish
JournalOman Medical Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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