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Distress correlates with the degree of chest pain: a description of patients awaiting revascularisation.
  1. A. Bengtson,
  2. J. Herlitz,
  3. T. Karlsson,
  4. A. Hjalmarson
  1. Department of Heart and Lung Diseases, Sahlgrenska Hospital, University Göteborg, Sweden.

    Abstract

    AIM: To describe various symptoms other than pain among consecutive patients on the waiting list for possible coronary revascularisation in relation to estimated severity of chest pain. DESIGN: All patients were sent a postal questionnaire for symptom evaluation. SUBJECTS: All patients in western Sweden on the waiting list in September 1990 who had been referred for coronary angiography or coronary revascularisation (n = 904). RESULTS: 88% of the patients reported chest pain symptoms that limited their daily activities to a greater or lesser degree. Various psychological symptoms including anxiety and depression were strongly associated with the severity of pain (P < 0.001), as were sleep disturbances (P < 0.001), and dyspnoea and various psychosomatic symptoms (P < 0.001). Nevertheless only 44% of the patients reported chest pain as the major disruptive symptom, whereas the remaining 56% reported uncertainty about the future, fear, or unspecified symptoms as being the most disturbing. CONCLUSIONS: In a consecutive series of patients on the waiting list for possible coronary revascularisation, half the participants reported that uncertainty and fear were more disturbing than chest pain.

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