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Causes of chest pain are often left undiagnosed

Patients who present to their GP with chest pain are at substantially increased risk of mortality but often miss out on adequate diagnosis, a new study warns.

The researchers urged GPs to search more rigorously for a cause of chest pain after concluding patients without other overt symptoms were sometimes dismissed too quickly.

Mortality rose 3.2-fold in patients presenting to their GP with new-onset chest pain, with 36 per cent of deaths caused by ischaemic heart disease, 21 per cent by cancer and 16 per cent by other non-cardiovascular causes.

But fewer than one in 10 of patients with unspecified chest pain received a cardiac disease diagnosis.

Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease was also under-recognised as a potential cause.

The study, published online by Family Practice, compared 13,740 patients with a first diagnosis of unspecified chest pain and 20,000 matched controls on the UK general practice research database.

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