Chest pain in children have some relation with anxiety; Research

Anxiety in children

Researchers have found that anxiety is also linked to chest pain in children.

This research has been published online in the Journal of Pediatric Psychology.

This research shows that the psychological factors can be of the same or more impact to the children’s chest pain as physiological factors. Researchers found that the little patients with non-cardiac chest pain are more anxious and depressed than the children with the noise of normal turbulent flow in a normal heart i.e. innocent heart murmurs.

“The fact that these psychological symptoms are higher in noncardiac chest pain patients suggests the psychological symptoms may be playing a role in the presentation of chest pain,” Jennifer Lee, a doctoral candidate in the UGA Franklin College of Arts and Sciences and the study’s lead author, said in a statement.

According to Lee, it is not clear whether anxiety caused pain or pain caused anxiety in the sample group.

Researchers in this study worked on 67 children with non-cardiac chest pain and 62 children with innocent heart murmurs. These children were in the age range of 8 to 18. Researchers concluded in the paper,

Children with NCCP (noncardiac chest pain) experience greater levels of psychosocial distress and impairment than similarly physically healthy children with IHM (innocent heart murmurs). Consideration of psychosocial influences on NCCP would likely be beneficial in aiding assessment and treatment.

“The higher levels weren’t so high as to cause a clinical diagnosis on their own, but when you contrast the two groups, there were statistically significant differences,” said study co-author Ronald Blount, a psychology professor in the Franklin College.


J. L. Lee, J. Gilleland, R. M. Campbell, G. L. Johnson, P. Simpson, K. J. Dooley, R. L. Blount, (2012). Internalizing Symptoms and Functional Disability in Children With Noncardiac Chest Pain and Innocent Heart Murmurs. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, DOI: 10.1093/jpepsy/jss111

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