Chest pain: differentiating esophageal disease from angina pectoris

Compr Ther. 1982 Dec;8(12):50-8.


Angina-like chest pain frequently arises from the esophagus. However, when a patient has chest pain, the gravity of possible myocardial ischemia indicates that a cardiac workup must be done. Those individuals with typical anginal pain who have normal multistage exercise tests or normal coronary arteriograms and any person with atypical chest pain should be thoroughly evaluated for esophageal disease. This evaluation should include a barium swallow, a Bernstein test, esophageal manometry, and, if indicated, esophagoscopy. Reproduction of the chest pain with the Bernstein test incriminates gastroesophageal reflux disease. Esophageal manometry is required to make the diagnoses of achalasis, DES, and hypertensive LES or esophageal body (Table 1).

MeSH terms

  • Angina Pectoris / diagnosis*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Esophageal Achalasia / diagnosis
  • Esophageal Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Pain / diagnosis*
  • Spasm / diagnosis
  • Thorax*