Washington: A new German study has examined the course and treatment of "non-specific" (unexplained) chest pain.The study has appeared in the February 8 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.
Among the 755 study patients who provided data at the six-month follow-up, 419 (55.5percent) still had chest pain. Also, 45 (10.7percent) of those were categorized as using health care in an inappropriate manner, defined as two or more visits to a cardiologist or three or more cardiac diagnostic evaluations - including angiograms and electrocardiograms - within six months. This compared with 24 (7.1percent) of 336 patients with remitted chest pain.Only six patients, less than 2 percent, were referred to mental health specialists for ongoing chest pain. The authors write: "This finding is surprising because psychological factors are known to contribute to the development of chronic pain, and psychological consultations are covered by the health care system in Germany."Patients with psychologically caused non-specific chest pain showed more problematic health care–seeking behavior but were rarely referred to mental health professionals. Patients, general practitioners or both seem to be hesitant to involve psychological interventions."The authors conclude: "Future research should investigate the development of effective interventions for non-specific chest pain and their implementation within health care systems." ANI
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