Intended for healthcare professionals

Practice Commentary

Diagnosing chest pain in general practice

BMJ 2006; 332 doi: (Published 16 March 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;332:646
  1. Neil C Campbell, reader (
  1. University of Aberdeen Department of General Practice and Primary Care, Foresterhill Health Centre, Aberdeen AB25 2AY

    As is often the case, Mrs Patel, a 28 year old woman, presented with chest pain first to her general practitioner.1 Chest pain is a common presentation in general practice in all age groups, and often difficult to diagnose precisely. More often we attempt to exclude certain diagnoses—not only coronary heart disease but also pulmonary embolism, pneumonia, pneumothorax, and cancer. Most of these have been mentioned in the rapid responses.2

    The case progression shows the difficulties that even cardiologists, with extensive hospital resources, have in reaching a clear diagnosis. For the general practitioner, things are even …

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