Pain characteristics in patients with unexplained chest pain and patients with ischemic heart disease

Margaretha Jerlock, Catharina Welin, Annika Rosengren, Fannie Gaston-Johansson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Little scientific attention has been paid to providing a comprehensive multidimensional description of chest pain in patients with unexplained chest pain. Aims: The aims of the present study were: (1) to describe the symptom chest pain, including the dimensions of intensity, quality, duration and location in patients with unexplained chest pain (UCP); and (2) to identify similarities and differences in how patients with UCP and patients with ischemic heart disease (IHD) describe chest pain. Method: A descriptive, correlational and comparative design. Totally 208 consecutive UCP patients and 40 IHD patients below 70 years of age participated. Pain was assessed using the instrument Pain-O-Meter. Results: The occurrence of chest pain was 79% (n = 165) in UCP patients versus 60% (n = 22) in the IHD patients (p = 0.001). Patients with UCP reported greater pain intensity and used more sensory and affective words than IHD patients (p < 0.01). Relationships between pain location and amount of body surface involved in the pain and pain intensity in both groups were found (p < 0.001). Conclusions: Our results showed some defining characteristics of the UCP group, but the many similarities between the two groups in their experience of chest pain made it impossible to clearly differentiate the groups' pain profiles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)130-136
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2007


  • Chest pain characterization
  • Ischemic heart disease
  • Pain-O-Meter
  • Unexplained chest pain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Medical–Surgical
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing


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