Little is known about the prevalence and importance of non-cardiac chest pain in the general population.
In this study, researchers from Australia and the United States evaluated the magnitude and impact non-cardiac chest pain.
The research team mailed a self-report questionnaire to a sample of 1000 randomly selected residents of Penrith.
They measured symptoms, risk factors, psychological distress, quality of life and demographics.
The response rate was 73% (n = 672, mean age = 46 years, 52% female).
|Chest pain was reported by 39% of the population.|
|Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics|
Chest pain was reported by 39% of the population.
Overall, 7% reported a history of myocardial infarction and 8% a history of angina.
The team found that 33% of cases were classified as non-cardiac chest pain and only 23% had consulted a physician about chest pain in the previous year.
The researchers determined that the only independent risk factor for non-cardiac chest pain was the frequency of heartburn (odds ratio, 1.74).
In addition, none of the gastrointestinal or psychological risk factors were significantly associated with consulting for non-cardiac chest pain.
Dr Eslick's team concluded, "Non-cardiac chest pain is remarkably common in the general population and negatively impacts on the quality of life".
"Gastro-esophageal reflux disease is a key risk factor for non-cardiac chest pain in the community".
"Health care seeking for non-cardiac chest pain remains unexplained".