Non-cardiac chest pain: an update

Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2006 Jun;18(6):408-17. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2982.2006.00787.x.


Non-cardiac chest pain (NCCP) is very common, affecting up to a quarter of the USA adult population. Recent studies have shown that the disorder has a profound impact on patient's quality of life and is associated with marked increase in utilization of healthcare resources. Non-cardiac chest pain is a heterogeneous disorder with gastrointestinal and non-gastrointestinal causes. After excluding a cardiac cause, most NCCP patients are treated by cardiologists or primary care physicians and only the minority are referred to a gastroenterologist for further work-up. Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) is the most common cause for NCCP. The role of oesophageal dysmotility in NCCP has been discounted in recent years. However, visceral hyperalgesia has been shown to play an important role in symptom generation of non-GORD-related NCCP. The main therapeutic interventions in GORD-related NCCP patients are potent antireflux modalities and pain modulators in those with non-GORD-related NCCP.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chest Pain / diagnosis*
  • Chest Pain / etiology*
  • Chest Pain / therapy*
  • Esophageal Motility Disorders / complications
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / complications
  • Humans
  • Hyperalgesia / complications
  • Viscera / pathology