Athens, Ga. Psychological factors can have as muchor moreimpact on pediatric chest pain as physical ones, a University of Georgia study found recently. UGA psychologists discovered pediatric patients diagnosed with noncardiac chest pain have higher levels of anxiety and depression than patients diagnosed with innocent heart murmursthe noise of normal turbulent blood flow in a structurally normal heart.
The UGA research was done in collaboration with Children's Healthcare of Atlanta and Emory University.
"The fact that these psychological symptoms are higher in noncardiac chest pain patients suggests the psychological symptoms may be playing a role in the presentation of chest pain," said Jennifer Lee, a doctoral candidate in the UGA Franklin College of Arts and Sciences and the study's lead author.
The results of the study, which were published Nov. 5 in the Journal of Pediatric Psychology, show a statistically significant increase in anxiety and depression among patients who are later diagnosed with noncardiac chest pain when compared to patients diagnosed with innocent heart murmurs. Lee said it is not clear if the anxiety is a cause of the pain or if pain caused the anxiety in the sample group.
"The higher levels weren't so high as to cause a clinical diagnosis on their own, but when you contrast the two groups, there were statistically significant differences," said study co-author Ronald Blount, a psychology professor in the Franklin College.
The study included 129 patients ages 8 to 18. The group completed surveys prior to diagnosis. All patients were essentially in the same situationsitting in a cardiology office awaiting their unknown medical diagnosis.
"We are highlighting that psychology has a part in these symptoms," Blount said, "and screening for psychological, as well as medical factors, is one implication we foresee coming from this investigation."
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|Contact: Ronald Blount|
University of Georgia