Chest Pain: Heart, Esophagus, or ?

NETHERLANDS--Patients with chest pain that appears to be coming from the heart (angina-like) are commonly evaluated by heart specialists (cardiologists). It is well known, however, that there are many causes of chest pain that mimic heart pains but do not come from the heart. These non-cardiac causes include spasm and heartburn from the esophagus (gastroesophageal reflux disease), gallbladder attack, inflammation of the chest wall, and, rarely, tear of the aorta.

In a study (1997) published in the medical journal, CHEST, Jan H. Voskuil, M.D. and associates reported their data of patients who were newly-referred to the cardiologist for evaluation of chest pain that appeared to be coming from the heart. The study was designed to determine the prevalence of abnormalities of the tube that carries food from the mouth to the stomach (esophagus) in these patients.