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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Chest pain at rest in patients with coronary artery disease. Myocardial ischemia, esophageal dysfunction, or panic disorder?

Severe nonexertional (resting) chest pain may be due to myocardial ischemia, esophageal dysfunction, psychiatric disorder, or any combination thereof and frequently poses a difficult diagnostic challenge. Our aim was to investigate causes of chest pain in patients with coronary artery disease. Forty-five patients with angiographically proven obstructive coronary lesions and recurrent chest pain at rest were studied; 18 had refractory pain despite cardiac therapy (problem group), and 27 had documented myocardial ischemia (control group). Esophageal manometry, edrophonium provocation, 24-hr pH studies, and psychiatric interview were performed in all patients. The clinical evolution and the outcome of specific treatment during follow-up was used to establish the etiology of chest pain. Esophageal dysfunction was identified in all problem patients and in 52% of controls, and the esophagus was incriminated as the source of pain in 8 (44%) and 5 (18.5%), respectively. After a mean follow-up of 49 months (range 24-76 months), the cause of chest pain in the problem group was identified as panic disorder in 9 patients (50%), gastroesophageal reflux in 6 (33%), esophageal dysmotility in 2 (11%), and gallstone disease in 1 (6%). Of the control patients, 18 (67%) had ischemic pain alone, while 9 had concurrent causes: panic disorder in 5 (19%) and esophageal dysfunction in 4 (15%). Esophageal dysfunction and psychiatric disturbances are common in patients with coronary artery disease presenting with resting chest pain, and may contribute to patients' symptoms.[1]


  1. Chest pain at rest in patients with coronary artery disease. Myocardial ischemia, esophageal dysfunction, or panic disorder? Ros, E., Armengol, X., Grande, L., Toledo-Pimentel, V., Lacima, G., Sanz, G. Dig. Dis. Sci. (1997) [Pubmed]
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