Previous studies have found an association between chronic pain and cardiovascular (CV) mortality.
To explore the relationship between the severity of pain and non-fatal CV disease.
A total of 45,994 adults randomly selected from general practice registers in Manchester and Aberdeen were posted a survey, which included a Chronic Pain Grade questionnaire, pain manikin and questions about lifestyle and medical history. A single component measuring pain severity was extracted using factor analysis. Logistic regression was used to test for an association between quintiles of pain severity and a history of CV disease, adjusting for confounders.
Of the 15,288 responders, 61% (n = 9357) reported pain for ≥1 day in the past month. Compared with the first (lowest) pain severity quintile, the fully adjusted odds ratio for heart attack in the second severity quintile was 1.25 (95% confidence interval 0.68, 2.30); third quintile: 1.65 (0.93, 2.94); fourth quintile: 1.76 (1.00, 3.11) and fifth (highest) quintile 2.47 (1.43, 4.28). Corresponding figures for angina (excluding heart attack) were: 1.79 (0.93, 3.45), 1.91 (1.00, 3.62), 1.03 (0.50, 2.11) and 3.17 (1.71, 5.85).
A history of CV disease is reported more often in those with severe pain than would be expected by chance, even when adjusting for shared risk factors.
Parsons, S., McBeth, J., Macfarlane, G. J., Hannaford, P. C., & Symmons, D. P. M. (2015). Self-reported pain severity is associated with a history of coronary heart disease. European Journal of Pain, 19(2), 167-175. https://doi.org/10.1002/ejp.533