Adolescents with unexplained chest pain reported depression and impaired emotional and social functioning

Acta Paediatr. 2020 Aug;109(8):1642-1648. doi: 10.1111/apa.15144. Epub 2020 Jan 23.


Aim: Chest pain is common in adolescence, but there are no established criteria for managing this problem, which is rarely associated with cardiac disease. This study addressed the gaps in the literature by evaluating psychosocial factors that could be associated with medically unexplained chest pain.

Methods: We consecutively selected 100 patients (68% girls) aged 13-18 who were diagnosed with unexplained chest pain when they presented to the cardiology outpatient clinics of Tepecik Research Hospital, İzmir, Turkey, between 30 September 2015 and 30 June 2018. The controls were 76 age- and sex-matched adolescents (69% girls) aged 13-18 who were undergoing routine cardiology assessments before joining sports clubs. We assessed their health-related quality of life and any depression and physical symptoms.

Results: Regression analysis showed some adolescents were a number of times more likely to report chest pain. These included those who reported boredom (4.1 times), felt stressed or anxious (2.2) and those who experienced sleep disturbance (2.6), co-morbid headaches (2.0), back pain (3.1) and impaired social functioning (1.2).

Conclusion: The results indicated a significant association between unexplained chest pain and physical symptoms, depression and impaired emotional and social functioning. These factors warrant further evaluation.

Keywords: adolescent; chest pain; depression; social functionality; somatic complaints.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Chest Pain* / epidemiology
  • Chest Pain* / etiology
  • Depression* / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Quality of Life*
  • Social Interaction*
  • Turkey / epidemiology