Functional chest pain: Esophageal or overlapping functional disorder

Ranjit S. Mudipalli, Jose M. Remes-Troche, Leslie Andersen, Satish S.C. Rao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Whether patients with functional chest pain have an esophageal or overlapping functional disorder of the gut is unclear. We investigated the prevalence of functional gastrointestinal disorders in patients with functional chest pain. METHODS: One hundred patients with functional chest pain and normal cardiac, endoscopic, and manometric studies were evaluated for esophageal hypersensitivity with a balloon distension test. Subsequently, a modified Rome II functional bowel disorder questionnaire was mailed to these subjects. Prevalence of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and other functional disorder were determined using the Rome II criteria. In addition, we assessed the prevalence of chest pain in 81 patients with functional constipation. RESULTS: There were 69 responders (54 women); 2 were excluded. Fifty-five patients (82%) fulfilled criteria for other functional disorders besides chest pain. Although there was an overlap, IBS (27%) and abdominal bloating (22%) were most common; dyspepsia (7%), dysphagia (7%), nonspecific bowel disorder (7%), constipation (4%), abdominal pain (3%), and diarrhea (1%) were less common. Among responders, 52 (78%) had esophageal hypersensitivity and 15 (22%) had normosensitivity, with similar prevalence of functional disorders. Thirty-two (39%) of the subjects with functional constipation reported chest pain occasionally, and 5 (6%) frequently. CONCLUSIONS: Approximately 80% of patients with functional chest pain exhibit features of other functional disorders including IBS suggesting an overlap. This association is independent of esophageal hypersensitivity. Recognition of this overlap may facilitate better management of these patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)264-269
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Clinical Gastroenterology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Bloating
  • Epidemiology
  • Functional chest pain
  • Hypersensitivity
  • Irritable bowel syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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