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Treading Carefully: A qualitative ethnographic study of the clinical, social and educational uses of excercise ECG in evaluating stable chest pain

Cramer, Helen, Evans, Maggie, Featherstone, Katie, Johnson, Rachel, Zaman, M. Justin S., Timmis, Adam D., Hemingway, Harry and Feder, Gene 2012. Treading Carefully: A qualitative ethnographic study of the clinical, social and educational uses of excercise ECG in evaluating stable chest pain. BMJ Open 2 (1) , e000508. 10.1136/bmjopen-2011-000508

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Abstract

Objective To examine functions of the exercise ECG in the light of the recent National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence guidelines recommending that it should not be used for the diagnosis or exclusion of stable angina. Design Qualitative ethnographic study based on interviews and observations of clinical practice. Setting 3 rapid access chest pain clinics in England. Participants Observation of 89 consultations in chest pain clinics, 18 patient interviews and 12 clinician interviews. Main outcome measure Accounts and observations of consultations in chest pain clinics. Results The exercise ECG was observed to have functions that extended beyond diagnosis. It was used to clarify a patient's story and revise the initial account. The act of walking on the treadmill created an additional opportunity for dialogue between clinician and patient and engagement of the patient in the diagnostic process through precipitation of symptoms and further elaboration of symptoms. The exercise ECG facilitated reassurance in relation to exercise capacity and tolerance, providing a platform for behavioural advice particularly when exercise was promoted by the clinician. Conclusions Many of the practices that have been built up around the use of the exercise ECG are potentially beneficial to patients and need to be considered in the re-design of services without that test. Through its contribution to the patient's history and to subsequent advice to the patient, the exercise ECG continues to inform the specialist assessment and management of patients with new onset stable chest pain, beyond its now marginalised role in diagnosis.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Healthcare Sciences
Subjects: R Medicine > RM Therapeutics. Pharmacology
Publisher: BMJ Publishing Group
ISSN: 2044-6055
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 04:28
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/39570

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