Background/objective: Chest pain is a common complaint and reason for consultation. We aimed to study the epidemiology of chest pain with respect to underlying aetiologies and to establish pre-work-up probabilities for the primary care setting.
Methods: We included 1212 consecutive patients with chest pain, aged 35 years and older, attending 74 general practitioners (GPs). GPs recorded symptoms and findings of each patient and provided follow-up information. An independent interdisciplinary reference panel reviewed clinical data of every patient and decided on the aetiology of chest pain at the time of patient recruitment.
Results: The prevalence of chest pain among all attending patients was 0.7%. The majority (55.9%) of patients were women. Mean age was 59 (35-93) years. Of these patients, 53.2% had chest pains at the time of consultation and 29.6% presented with acute (<48 hours' duration) chest pain. Pain originating from the chest wall was diagnosed in 46.6% of all patients, stable ischaemic heart disease (IHD) in 11.1%, and psychogenic disorders in 9.5%; 3.6% had acute coronary syndrome (ACS).
Conclusion: The study adds important information about the epidemiology of chest pain as a frequent reason for consulting primary care practitioners. We provide updated pre-work-up probabilities for IHD for each age and sex category.