The burden of illness of non-cardiac chest pain
Article first published online: 25 JUL 2002
Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics
Volume 16, Issue 7, pages 1217–1223, July 2002
How to Cite
Eslick, G. D., Coulshed, D. S. and Talley, N. J. (2002), The burden of illness of non-cardiac chest pain. Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics, 16: 1217–1223. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2036.2002.01296.x
- Issue published online: 25 JUL 2002
- Article first published online: 25 JUL 2002
- Accepted for publication 19 March 2002
Background : Non-cardiac chest pain is a common condition affecting approximately one-quarter of the population during their lifetime, but the long-term economic costs of non-cardiac chest pain are poorly defined.
Methods : A MEDLINE and Current Contents search was performed from 1991 to 2002 using specific keywords. All major articles on the subject of non-cardiac chest pain in this period were reviewed and their reference lists searched.
Results : Limited studies suggest that the majority of those with non-cardiac chest pain do not consult a doctor regarding their symptoms; the drivers of health care seeking are not known. The impact on the quality of life in consulters can be severe, with as many as 36% reporting much lower quality of life levels. The diagnosis of non-cardiac chest pain can be difficult due to the heterogeneous nature of the condition, with significant overlap of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease, chest wall syndromes and psychiatric disease, which may drive up the costs of management. The prognosis appears to be good, but there are conflicting results in long-term studies.
Conclusions : The costs of non-cardiac chest pain to the health care system are likely to be large and represent a significant proportion of each Western country's health care budget. Further studies are required to determine methods of reducing health care costs.