Anxiety and depression symptoms in chest pain patients referred for the exercise stress test

Heart Views. 2011 Oct;12(4):161-4. doi: 10.4103/1995-705X.90903.


Introduction: As chest pain is an important symptom of coronary artery disease (CAD), the presentation of the symptom often prompts referral to a cardiologist for further investigation. The aim of the present study is to determine the prevalence of anxiety and depressive symptoms in patients referred to a cardiology outpatient clinic for performing the stress test.

Patients and methods: Two hundred and fifty consecutive outpatients referred for evaluation of chest pain by the stress test at a government cardiology clinic from April 2010 to November 2010 were asked to participate in the study. We estimated the prevalence of anxiety and depression symptoms, as assessed by the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, in a sample of patients with chest pain.

Results: The prevalence of anxiety and depressive symptoms was estimated to be 42% and 31%, respectively, in the total chest pain population. Males with abnormal test were depressed but females experienced more anxiety symptoms. Patients with negative tests had significantly higher scores for anxiety and higher depression scores than those with positive tests. Eleven percent of the patients with positive tests were women and 23% were men.

Conclusion: Determining a patient's anxiety disorder history may assist the clinician in identifying, especially, women with angina who are at a lower risk of underlying CAD.

Keywords: Anxiety; depression; exercise test.