CONTEXT: Non-cardiac chest pain or functional chest pain is a syndrome with high prevalence in ocidental world. Findings on 15%-30% of coronary angiograms performed in patients with chest pain are normal. Causes significant impact in quality of life of patients and is associated with increased use of the health care facilities. DATA SOURCES: To this review the following data base were accessed: Medline, the Cochrane Library, LILACS. The limit was the last 5 years publications and were selected relevant original articles, reviews, consensus, guidelines and meta-analysis. RESULTS: Forty-four papers were selected, 28 original articles, 12 reviews, 2 guidelines, 1 consensus and 1 meta-analysis. CONCLUSIONS: Exclusion of cardiac disease is of crucial importance. On the other hand non-cardiac chest pain could be related to gastrointestinal, muscular and respiratory causes and/or psychological disturbances. Treatment aims to attack mechanism generator in order to relieve or to eliminate symptoms. Drugs are the cornerstone of treatment, exception to achalasia patients because those have better response to dilation of the esophagus or surgery, and to those who need intensive pyschological therapy. The most important drugs used are proton pump inhibitors and triciclic antidepressants, the latter, to modulate central signal process (visceral hypersensitivity) and autonomic response. Recently, new diagnostic facilities, and also therapeutic modalities, such as esophageal botulin toxin injection and hypnosis are under investigations. In the near future, maybe some of them would take a place in the therapeutic scenario of these patients.
Chest pain; Gastroesophageal reflux; Antidepressive agents; Proton pump inhibitors