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Am J Cardiol. 1987 Nov 1;60(13):998-1002.

Diagnostic implications for myocardial ischemia of the circadian variation of the onset of chest pain.

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Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts 02115.


To determine whether the occurrence of chest pain is randomly distributed during the day and to study whether the time of onset is useful in discriminating among causes of chest pain, patients older than 30 years who presented to 7 emergency departments with a chief complaint of chest pain unexplained by trauma or chest x-ray abnormalities were studied. A total of 7,759 patients presented during the study period; of these, 3,990 presented within 6 hours of the onset of pain and were included in the primary analysis. Chest pain caused by acute myocardial infarction, unstable angina pectoris and stable angina pectoris was more likely to begin during the period from 6 AM to noon than would be expected if the onset were uniformly distributed during the day (relative risks 1.15, 1.29 and 1.32, respectively), but chest pain that was caused by nonischemic cardiac causes and by noncardiac causes was also more likely to begin during the same time period (relative risks 1.28 and 1.17). Although chest pain from coronary arterial causes had a distinct circadian variation, the time of onset of pain was not a helpful criterion for determining the cause of chest pain.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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