Chest pain in acute myocardial infarction: a descriptive study according to subjective assessment and morphine requirement

Clin Cardiol. 1986 Sep;9(9):423-8. doi: 10.1002/clc.4960090907.


In 722 patients with suspected acute myocardial infarction (MI) we have tried to describe the course of chest pain according to their own assessment and morphine requirement. Patients were asked to score pain from 0-10 every second hour after arrival in the coronary care unit (CCU) and also to score their maximal pain at home. A very high intensity of chest pain was observed at home (mean score 7.1). At arrival in the CCU the mean pain score already had declined to 1.8, although 51% still had chest pain. Pain score declined successively during the first 12 hours in the CCU. At 24 hours after arrival, 20% still had some chest discomfort. In one quarter of the series a score of more than 0 was observed later than 24 hours after arrival in CCU. Patients developing definite MI had, as expected, a longer duration of pain and a much higher requirement of morphine compared with those with no MI. The difference between MI and no MI patients regarding subjective assessment of the initial intensity of pain at home and in hospital was, however, surprisingly low.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Chest Pain / diagnosis*
  • Chest Pain / drug therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Morphine / administration & dosage*
  • Morphine / therapeutic use
  • Myocardial Infarction / diagnosis*
  • Nitroglycerin / administration & dosage
  • Nitroglycerin / therapeutic use
  • Pain Measurement*
  • Time Factors


  • Morphine
  • Nitroglycerin