Serial killers: Acute chest pain

Targeting the most common chief complaints and deadly diagnoses to consider in prehospital medicine


In EMS education, we often start with a diagnosis and teach from there – for example, congestive heart failure, asthma and COPD are all podcast topics we have previously tackled. But, how to get to the final diagnosis is often a process that all levels of emergency providers struggle with. To go from a chaotic chest pain scene with unstable vitals, then filter to a differential of 1. pulmonary embolus, 2. acute coronary syndrome, 3. thoracic aortic dissection is often quite challenging.

The MCHD Paramedic Podcast “Serial Killer Series” is going to target the most common chief complaints and the killer diagnoses that you should always consider. We’re not going to spend time with non-emergent/chronic diagnoses, just the ones that are deadly when missed. That’s where we, as emergency providers, must begin.

Here, MCHD Medical Directors Dr. Robert Dickson and Dr. Casey Patrick kick things off with acute chest pain. We’ll cover shortness of breath, abdominal pain and altered mental status in future episodes.


Listen to next

Listen to next

Medic Mindset Podcast: Thinking about chest pain

Host Ginger Locke interviews Dr. Brandon Bleess about patients with a chief complaint of chest pain


This article was originally posted June 11, 2020. It has been updated.

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