Aim: Population-based assessment of noncardiac chest pain (NCCP) is lacking. The aim of this study was to evaluate the prevalence, psychosocial factors and health seeking behaviour of NCCP in southern Chinese.
Methods: A total of 2 209 ethnic Hong Kong Chinese households were recruited to participate in a telephone survey to study the epidemiology of NCCP using the Rose angina questionnaire, a validated gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) questionnaire and the hospital anxiety-depression scale. NCCP was defined as non-exertional chest pain according to the Rose angina questionnaire and had not been diagnosed as ischaemic heart diseases by a physician.
Results: Chest pain over the past year was present in 454 subjects (20.6%, 95% CI 19-22), while NCCP was present in 307 subjects (13.9%, 95% CI 13-15). GERD was present in 51% of subjects with NCCP and 34% had consulted a physician for chest pain. Subjects with NCCP had a significantly higher anxiety (P<0.001) and depression score (P=0.007), and required more days off (P=0.021) than subjects with no chest pain. By multiple logistic regression analysis, female gender (OR 1.9, 95% CI 1.1-3.2), presence of GERD (OR 2.8, 95% CI 1.6-4.8), and social life being affected by NCCP (OR 6.9, 95% CI 3.3-15.9) were independent factors associated with health seeking behaviour in southern Chinese with NCCP.
Conclusion: NCCP is a common problem in southern Chinese and associated with anxiety and depression. Female gender, GERD and social life affected by chest pain were associated with health care utilization in subjects with NCCP.