Unimproved chest pain in patients with minimal or no coronary disease: a behavioral phenomenon.


Journal Article

Patients with chest pain and minimal or no coronary disease have a good prognosis for survival, yet many continue to have pain. In our experience with 821 medically treated patients there were three cardiac deaths (0.3%) and two nonfatal myocardial infarctions (0.2%) in the first year after angiography, which had revealed insignificant (less than 75% narrowing of the luminal diameter) or no coronary artery stenosis. In a subset of 548 patients selected with no apparent systematic difference from the inception cohort of 821 patients, there was complete absence of chest pain in 178 (33%) patients but 155 (28%) had similar or worse pain. From an analysis of clinical history and catheterization data entered in a stepwise logistic regression function, unimproved chest pain was significantly associated with female sex (p = 0.01) and an index of five chest pain descriptors (p = 0.0005). After adding selected behavioral variables available for a representative sample of 217 patients, a high hypochondriasis score (scale I from the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory) became the strongest determinant of continued pain (p less than 0.0001). In our experience, an exaggerated preoccupation with personal health is prospectively associated with continued chest pain in patients with minimal or no coronary disease.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Wielgosz, AT; Fletcher, RH; McCants, CB; McKinnis, RA; Haney, TL; Williams, RB

Published Date

  • July 1, 1984

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 108 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 67 - 72

PubMed ID

  • 6731285

Pubmed Central ID

  • 6731285

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0002-8703

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/0002-8703(84)90546-5


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States