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Korean J Gastroenterol. 2015 Feb;65(2):76-84. English. Review.
Min YW , Rhee PL .
Department of Medicine, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.

Noncardiac chest pain (NCCP) is defined as recurring, angina-like, retrosternal chest pain of noncardiac origin. Although patients with NCCP have excellent long-term prognosis, most suffer persistently from their symptoms. Several pathophysiological mechanisms have been suggested, including gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), esophageal motility disorder, esophageal hypersensitivity, and psychological comorbidity. Among them, GERD is the most common cause of NCCP. Therefore, GERD should first be considered as the underlying cause of symptoms in patients with NCCP. Empirical proton pump inhibitor (PPI) treatment with a preferably double dose for more than 2 months could be cost-effective. PPI test can also be used for diagnosis of GERD-related NCCP, but it should be considered for patients with NCCP occurring at least weekly and its duration should be at least 2 weeks. However, upper endoscopy and esophageal pH monitoring are necessary when the diagnosis of GERD is uncertain. Esophageal impedance-pH monitoring could further improve the diagnostic yield. Patients with GERD-related NCCP should preferably be treated with a double dose PPI until symptoms remit (may require more than 2 months of therapy for optimal symptom control), followed by dose tapering to determine the lowest PPI dose that can control symptoms. However, treatment of patients with non-GERD-related NCCP is challenging. An empirical treatment of antidepressants could be considered. If there are specific esophageal motility disorders, smooth muscle relaxants or endoscopic treatment may be considered in selected cases. If none of these traditional treatments is effective, a psychology consultation for cognitive behavioral therapy should be considered.

Copyright © 2019. Korean Association of Medical Journal Editors.