Background: Recurrent chest pain is common in patients with and without coronary artery disease. The prevalence and burden of these symptoms on healthcare is unknown. Objectives: To compare chest pain return visits (recidivism) in patients with unexplained chest pain (UCP) against reference group of patients with coronary artery disease (CAD) and estimate the annual cost of recurrent chest pain. Methods: In a retrospective cohort study, a Veteran Affairs (VA) administrative and clinical database of Veterans who were deployed to or served in support of the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan was queried for first disease specific ICD-9 code to form two cohorts (UCP or CAD). Patients were followed between 09/2001-09/2010 for the first and cumulative return visits for UCP or cardiac pain (ACS or angina) to clinic, emergency department or admission; or for all-cause death. Time to return was analyzed using Cox regression and negative binomial models and adjusted for age, gender, race, marital status, and risk factors (hypertension, hyperlipidemia, diabetes, smoking and obesity). Direct total costs included inpatient, outpatient and fee basis (non-VA) costs. Results: Of 749,036 patients, 20,521 had UCP and 5303 had CAD. UCP patients were young and had a lower burden of risk factors than CAD cohort (p∈<∈.01). Yet, these patients were likely to return earlier with any chest pain (adjusted Hazard Ratio [aHR]∈=∈1.76; 95 % CI 1.65-1.88); or unexplained chest pain than CAD patients (aHR: 1.89; 95 % CI 1.77-2.01). UCP patients were also likely to return more frequently for any chest pain (aRate Ratio∈=∈1.54; 95 % CI 1.43-1.64) or UCP than CAD patients (aRR =2.63; 95 % CI 2.43-2.87). Per 100 patients, the 1-year cumulative returns were 37 visits for reference group and 45 visits for UCP cohort. The annual costs for chest pain averaged 69,009 for CAD and 57,336 for UCP patients (log geometric mean ratio=1.25; 95 % CI 1.18-1.32). Conclusion: Chest pain recidivism is common and costly even in patients without known CAD. We need evidence-based guidelines for these patients to minimize returns.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Family Practice