Background: Unexplained chest pain is a frequent and increasingly common complaint among patients admitted to Emergency Departments. Previous studies have defined unexplained chest pain as non-cardiac or non-coronary artery disease, i.e. patients with other organic causes explaining the chest pain could be included. To increase the knowledge of unexplained chest pain, this study only includes patients without any known explanation for their chest pain.
Aim: To analyze gender differences regarding pain characteristics, psychosocial factors and health-related quality of life among patients diagnosed unexplained chest pain.
Methods and results: The results are based on 179 patients (101 men, 78 women) between 16 and 69 years old (mean age 45.3) consecutively admitted to Emergency Department. Pain characteristics were assessed by Pain-O-Meter. Social relationships, depression, anxiety, and health-related quality of life were measured by a self-administered questionnaire. There were no gender differences regarding chest pain intensity; however women described their pain as burning (p<0.01) and frightening (p<0.03) more often than men. Men reported less depression (p<0.01) and less trait anxiety (p=0.01) than women. Chest pain intensity did not significantly impact health-related quality of life except physical functioning in men (p=0.05).
Conclusion: Gender differences were few. Chest pain intensity did not significantly impact health-related quality of life.