Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Patients with angina with normal and near normal coronary arteries: clinical and psychosocial state 12 months after angiography.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1983; 287 doi: (Published 19 November 1983) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1983;287:1505
  1. C Bass,
  2. C Wade,
  3. D Hand,
  4. G Jackson


    The clinical and psychosocial states of 46 patients (26 men and 20 women) who had undergone cardiac catheterisation were examined prospectively. All of the patients had insignificant (less than 50%) coronary lesions and had been told that no limitation of activity was necessary. Twelve months after angiography 19 of the patients continued to complain of chest pain. Twenty one reported phobic symptoms, and 13 were found by standardised clinical interview to have psychiatric morbidity. This had been evident at the time of catheterisation in 28. Twenty three patients had evidence of unexplained breathlessness, 13 were taking psychotropic drugs, 29 were continuing to consult a doctor, and 11 were unable to work because of their symptoms. Patients initially assessed as having high levels of psychiatric morbidity and raised neuroticism scores were more likely to complain of chest pain one year after angiography. The 19 patients with persistent pain also had significantly higher levels of psychiatric and social morbidity at one year than the 27 patients whose chest pain had lessened during the follow up period. Those patients who fail to improve after being told that they have normal or nearly normal coronary arteries tend to be a chronically neurotic and socially maladjusted group in whom psychiatric disorder presents with predominantly somatic symptoms.