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What is Chest Pain?

Chest Pain Cause
Musculoskeletal conditions (36%)
GI conditions (19%)
Cardiac conditions (16%)
Psychosocial conditions (9%)
Pulmonary conditions (5%)
Other conditions (13%)

Chest pain is a clinical syndrome that may be caused by almost any condition affecting the thorax, abdomen, or internal organs. It is critically important to distinguish the two major presentations of chest pain: emergent and nonemergent (also referred to as acute and nonacute), as their clinical epidemiologic factors are very different.
Emergent (acute) chest pain is usually defined as the type of pain that cannot be ignored and that prompts most individuals to seek immediate medical attention, usually in the emergency room.
Most of the medical literature on the subject of chest pain describes this type of pain, for which the probability of acute cardiac ischemia or unstable coronary artery disease is quite high (1). Nonemergent (nonacute) chest pain is less compelling, and patients usually seek medical care during routine office hours. It is a common complaint in the primary care setting, representing 1%–2% of office visits (2). Although few studies have described these patients, it is clear that the probability of acute cardiac ischemia or unstable coronary artery disease in this setting is significantly lower than is seen in the emergency setting: the most frequently recorded diagnoses are musculoskeletal chest pain and gastrointestinal (GI) tract conditions (3,4 and 5). A significant proportion of cases remain undiagnosed or labeled atypical or noncardiac chest pain (6,7).

| Tags: Heart Health |


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