A new initiative by Christchurch Hospital is helping to fast-track the system for diagnosing heart attacks, allowing many to head home within hours.
While suspected heart attacks are the most common cause of admission into emergency departments worldwide, the system for ruling out an attack requires two blood tests taken between six and 12 hours apart.
However, the 544 patients who took part in Christchurch Hospital's trial underwent three tests that compacts the diagnosis period into four hours.
Study Lead Author Dr Martin Than says that the fast-tracked system will free up more hospital beds and give peace of mind to many worried patients quicker than usual.
"People that come in here are anxious they might be having a heart attack so it's really very nice to be able to say much quicker that we don't think they are," says Dr Than.
The study was funded by the Health Research Foundation with support from the Canterbury District Health Board.
The new process is being rolled out in hospitals nationwide.