Chest pain: an evaluation of the initial diagnosis made by 25 Flemish general practitioners

Fam Pract. 1991 Jun;8(2):121-4. doi: 10.1093/fampra/8.2.121.


Twenty-five general practitioners collected information on 318 contacts of patients with a new episode of chest pain, discomfort or tightness. A list of complaints, signs and symptoms were checked, together with the initial diagnosis, made by the GP immediately after the physical examination. The initial diagnosis was compared to a follow-up diagnosis. The gain in certainty was also compared. The GP made a correct initial diagnosis in 82% of patients. In 8% there was a clinically important difference, and seven of 17 episodes of oesophageal disease were missed. For their initial diagnosis, the GP scored 74% certain, 20% uncertain and no diagnosis in 6%. For the final diagnosis, these figures were 88%, 8% and 4%.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Belgium
  • Chest Pain / diagnosis*
  • Diagnostic Errors
  • Esophageal Diseases / diagnosis
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Humans
  • Physicians, Family / statistics & numerical data*
  • Time Factors