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Clinical trial to support people with non-cardiac chest pain

Published:  06 February 2020

An Australian-first clinical trial is aiming to reduce representations to emergency departments by providing alternative treatments to people with non-cardiac chest pain.

Every year, hundreds of North Queenslanders present to Townsville University Hospital with non-cardiac chest pain with national research showing about 10 per cent return to hospital with chest pain within a month.

Director of Psychology and principle investigator Vidula Garde has begun recruiting to a trial that will look at determining whether supporting these patients with psychotherapy will assist in improving quality of life and reduce the rates of representations to ED.

Ms Garde said chest pain was among the top five reasons for people presenting to emergency departments and were broken down into two broad categories: cardiac (heart related) or non-cardiac chest pain.

“What we know is that psychological conditions such as high anxiety and depression can be underlying causes of non-cardiac chest pain,” she said.

“Through this study we want to determine whether there is a benefit in offering these people psychological intervention in a hope of addressing the underlying psychological cause of their chest pain.

“If this trial is successful it has the potential to not only improve the quality of life of thousands of people but will also free up capacity in our emergency departments by reducing repeat presentations.”

Ms Garde presented her research at the Australasian College of Emergency Medicine in Hobart in December 2019.

The research has received $47,000 through the Townsville Hospital and Health Service’s Study, Education and Research Trust (SERTA) research funding program.

The project is recruiting until June looking for 40 patients to receive six psychotherapy sessions and a further 40 to act as a control group.

Preliminary findings are expected by the end of 2020.

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