["Esophageal" angina and angina pectoris]

M Bortolotti, E Labriola, P Sarti, F Brunelli, M Mazza, L Barbara
Minerva Chirurgica 1991 April 15, 46 (7): 145-52
In the last few years the non cardiac angina-like chest pain has encompassed more and more agitation not only in many patients but also in cardiologists, gastroenterologists and psychologists, as it involves socio-economic, pathophysiologic and therapeutic problems. The socio-economic aspect is well explained by the fact that in the USA at least 200,000 patients a year suffering from non cardiac angina-like chest pain, even when coronary arteriography has demonstrated normal coronary vessels, nevertheless continue to require cardiologic examinations and, if no one has clearly demonstrated the origin of their pain, they continue to live as invalids in constant fear of myocardial infarction. The discovery that the esophagus may be one of the causes of chest pain in these patients presenting with a previous diagnosis of "atypical" angina pectoris, unfortunately cannot resolve definitively the problem. An association of esophageal angina in patients with angina pectoris treated for long periods of time with Ca-antagonists and nitroderivatives has been described. In addition, the provocative or spontaneous tests to demonstrate the esophageal origin of chest pain give only a "likely" and not a "definite" diagnosis of esophageal angina. This also means to no "gold standard" text exist. Lastly, the "likely" diagnosis of esophageal angina is made in only about 50% of patients leaving the problem of the remaining 50% unanswered. These uncertainties induce some psychologists to assert that the cause of non cardiac angina-like chest pain is in the head ("panic disorder") and not in the esophagus, where the observed motor disorders should be an epiphenomenon.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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