Cardiac exposure history as a determinant of symptoms and emergency department utilization in noncardiac chest pain patients

J Behav Med. 1999 Dec;22(6):605-17. doi: 10.1023/a:1018745813664.


Although comparative studies differentiate noncardiac chest pain (NCCP), panic disorder, and coronary artery disease (CAD), little research has examined the defining features of NCCP, such as cardiac complaints, medical utilization, and learning history. We administered self-report measures to 80 Emergency Department (ED) patients with a primary complaint of chest pain who were subsequently found to not have CAD. Forty-eight percent of the ED utilization variance was accounted for by NCCP duration, age, cardiac distress symptoms, and prior exposure to both siblings' and friends' cardiac distress symptoms. In turn, 67% of the variance in cardiac distress symptoms was explained by education, age, NCCP duration, number of illnesses, noncardiac panic symptoms, prior exposure (friends), and prior observation of others' cardiac distress. No effects emerged for gender, ethnicity, avoidance, or depression. Results suggest that beyond the effects of age and distress intensity, prior exposure to other people's cardiac distress may influence NCCP.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Anxiety
  • Chest Pain / psychology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depression
  • Educational Status
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Heart Diseases / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Panic
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Regression Analysis
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors