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Chest pain 6 months after a heart attack is linked to patient dissatisfaction

Patients who experienced persistent chest pain 6 months after having heart attacks were more likely to say they were unsatisfied with their care, a recent study finds. Researchers studied the questionnaire responses of 1,815 patients who were admitted with heart attacks at 19 U.S. hospitals between January 1, 2003, and June 28, 2004. The questionnaires, completed at 1 and 6 months after the heart attack, asked respondents if they still suffered from chest pain and if they were satisfied with their treatment.

Twenty-four percent of the respondents had angina, which is chest pain that feels like squeezing or pressure, at the 6-month mark. The more pervasive the respondents' angina was, the less satisfied they reported they were with their treatment. For example, patients who still had angina at 1 and 6 months were 2.7 times more likely to disagree that everything possible was being done for them, 2.3 times more likely to be dissatisfied with their clinicians' explanations, 3 times as likely to be dissatisfied with their current treatment, and 2.1 times more likely to report that taking their pills was a bother.

The authors suggest these results indicate a need to improve surveillance for angina after heart attacks to improve patient satisfaction, which can lead to improved care and management. This study was funded in part by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (HS11282).

See "Association between angina and treatment satisfaction after myocardial infarction," by Mary E. Plomondon, Ph.D., M.S.P.H., David J. Magid, M.D., M.P.H., Frederick A. Masoudi, M.D., M.S.P.H., and others in the October 23, 2007, Journal of General Internal Medicine 23(11), pp. 1-6.

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