Objective: The aim of this study was to compare men and women with unexplained chest pain (UCP) to a randomly selected population sample free of clinical heart disease with regard to sleep problems, mental strain at work, stress at home, negative life events and health-related quality of life (HRQOL).
Design and subjects: The study was conducted at a university hospital in Sweden including 231 patients aged 25-69 without any organic cause for chest pain. As a reference group, 1069 participants, were recruited from the INTERGENE population-based study.
Results: Patients with UCP had more sleep problems (OR = 1.8, P < 0.0001), were almost three times more worried about stress at work (OR = 2.9, P < 0.0001), or had more stress at home (OR = 2.8, P < 0.0001), and were twice as likely to have negative life events (OR = 2.1, P < 0.0001). Women, but not men, with UCP, had a higher prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors (obesity, smoking, diabetes and hypertension) compared with references. With regard to HRQOL, UCP patients scored significantly lower than references in all dimensions of the SF-36.
Conclusions: In comparison with a healthy reference group, patients with UCP reported more sleep problems, mental strain at work, stress at home and negative life events and had lower health-related quality of life. Aside from immigration the strongest independent psychosocial factors were mental strain at work and negative life events last year in men and stress at home in women.