Introduction: Chest pain is a common reason for patients to attend emergency departments and be admitted to coronary care units. However, the cause of pain is non-cardiac in more than 50 % of these patients and many patients remain undiagnosed and symptomatic. Patients with non-cardiac chest pain do not differ from the general population in terms of long-term mortality, but they suffer from recurrent chest pain and frequently seek both primary and emergency care. There is therefore a need for targeted interventions in order to support patients with non-cardiac chest pain and minimize healthcare utilization and costs. Previous studies point out different psychosocial factors to be related to non-cardiac chest pain. However, to date there are few models taking into account the complex relationship between different clinical and psychosocial components that may cause non-cardiac chest pain.
Purpose: To study the prevalence of and relationship between pain, depressive symptoms, anxiety, somatization, fear of bodily sensations, illness perception and quality of life in patients with non-cardiac chest pain in order to design a treatment programme.
Methods: The study will have a descriptive design. Eligible for the study will be patients over the age of 18 who have been diagnosed with non-cardiac chest pain in four hospitals within a region in southeast Sweden. One thousand patients will be recruited, through patient registers provided by the hospitals, within one month from the day of admission. Data collection will start in the fall of 2013. Study information, written informed consent, all questionnaires, and a pre-stamped envelope will be sent to all eligible patients. Two reminders will be sent to patients who do not respond within 3 weeks from mail-out.
Outcomes: The study will report on the relationship between chest pain, depressive symptoms, anxiety, somatization, fear of bodily sensations, illness perception, and quality of life. Data will be collected using the Brief Pain Inventory-Short Form, Patient Health Questionnaire-9, Cardiac Anxiety Questionnaire, Patient Health Questionnaire-15, Bodily Sensations Questionnaire, Brief Illness Perception Questionnaire, and EuroQol 5D.
Study significance: This study will survey the complex relationship between different psychosocial factors and non-cardiac chest pain. This information will be of great interest when designing the optimal interventional programme in order to support patients with non-cardiac chest pain.