Aims: To determine the predictors of health care seeking, assess the types of health care professional consulted and to calculate the work absenteeism rates and interruptions to daily activities among non-cardiac chest pain patients.
Methods: A total of 212 patients who presented to a Tertiary Hospital Emergency Department over a 1-year period with acute chest pain were assessed according to a standard diagnostic protocol and completed the Chest Pain Questionnaire (CPQ).
Results: In the previous 12 months prior to presentation to the Emergency Department, 78% of patients had seen a health care professional for chest pain. The main health care professionals seen were general practitioners (85%), cardiologists (74%) and gastroenterologists (30%). Work absenteeism rates because of non-cardiac chest pain were high (29%) as were interruptions to daily activities (63%). Multiple logistic regression found that acid regurgitation was the only independent predictive symptom associated with consulting for non-cardiac chest pain (OR = 3.97, 95% CI: 1.25-12.63).
Conclusions: Consulting for chest pain is common is this group of patients. The type of health care professional seen appears to be moderated by the frequency and severity of reflux symptoms among these chest pain patients. Work absenteeism and interruptions to daily activities is high among chest pain sufferers.