Acute coronary syndrome critical pathway: Chest PAIN caremap. A qualitative research study - Provider-level intervention

Henock Saint-Jacques, Valentine J. Burroughs, Justyna Watkowska, Michelle Valcarcel, Pedro Moreno, Myo Maw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Recently published data on Healthcare performance continue to show a substantial gap between evidence-based guidelines and management of patients in real-world settings. This article describes an operational model that will be used to test whether a critical pathway applied in a secondary care-level institution may improve the process of care related to acute coronary syndromes (ACS). We have developed the pathway for management of all patients who present to our emergency department with a chief complaint of acute chest pain. Based on individual immediate ischemic event risk, patients are categorized according to a prespecified algorithm under the acronym of "PAIN" (P-Priority risk, A-Advanced risk, I-Intermediate risk, and N-Negative/low risk) as prespecified in an algorithm. Along with the algorithm come 2 detailed order sets, 1 for ST-elevation ACS and another for non ST-elevation ACS. The pathway, together with the 2 order sets, are color-coded with the "PAIN" acronym (P-red, A-yellow, I-yellow, N-green) that will guide patient management according to his or her risk stratification. These colors, similar to the road traffic light code, have been chosen as an easy reference for the provider about the sequential risk level of patients with ACS. This experimental model intends, with its unique structured approach, to increase awareness and improve adherence to the published American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology guidelines for the management of ACS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145-160
Number of pages16
JournalCritical Pathways in Cardiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Acute coronary syndromes
  • Chest pain
  • Clinical guidelines
  • Myocardial infarction
  • Risk stratification


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