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Int J Clin Pract. 2013 Apr;67(4):303-6. doi: 10.1111/ijcp.12030. Epub 2012 Dec 26.

Non-cardiac chest pain: time to extend the rapid access chest pain clinic?

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Cardiothoracic Centre and Department of Psychological Medicine, Guy's and St Thomas' Hospitals, London, UK.


Non-cardiac chest pain is common. It has a low risk of coronary events, but causes considerable physical and social disability and inappropriate health-care usage. It is a heterogeneous condition, which may be caused by or associated with gastro-oesophageal, musculoskeletal or psychiatric abnormalities and sustained by psychological factors including catastrophisation, avoidance behaviour and abnormal help-seeking. These may coexist and their relative contributions may vary in different patients or at different times in an individual patient. The absence of a unitary cause probably explains why treatment studies show only moderate success. An individualised biopsychosocial approach takes account of all causative and sustaining processes and has been shown to work in pain syndromes at other sites. We suggest that this approach should be tried for chest pain using a multidisciplinary clinic model including cardiologists, psychologists and nurses linked with a Rapid Access Chest Pain Clinic.

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