Noncardiac chest pain in patients with heart disease

South Med J. 1991 Jul;84(7):847-52. doi: 10.1097/00007611-199107000-00007.


This is a retrospective study of cardiac patients with noncardiac chest pain referred for evaluation of esophageal motility. Sixty-eight patients with heart disease were compared with 210 patients without heart disease according to findings from symptom questionnaires and a psychologic test (Brief Symptom Inventory). More than 70% of each group qualified for an anxiety or depressive diagnosis on the symptom questionnaire. These diagnoses were supported by significant elevations of scores on the anxiety and depression scales of the Brief Symptom Inventory. Male gender and a diagnosis of panic disorder occurred significantly more often in the patients with heart disease. "Stress" was cited as the cause of illness in about half the sample, but this led to less than satisfactory rates of psychiatric evaluation or pharmacotherapy. This is of particular concern for the cardiac patients because of the known adverse effect of anxiety and depression in those with heart disease.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anxiety Disorders / complications*
  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology
  • Chest Pain / etiology*
  • Chest Pain / psychology
  • Coronary Disease / complications*
  • Coronary Disease / psychology
  • Depressive Disorder / complications*
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology
  • Esophageal Motility Disorders / complications
  • Esophageal Motility Disorders / psychology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Panic / physiology
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sex Factors
  • Stress, Psychological / complications
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires