Patients' descriptions of angina symptoms: A qualitative study of primary care patients

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Background Initial diagnosis of angina in primary care is based on the history of symptoms as described by the patient in consultation with their GP. Deciphering and categorising often complex symptom narratives, therefore, represents an ongoing challenge in the early diagnosis of angina in primary care. Aim To explore how patients with a pre-existing angina diagnosis describe their symptoms. Method Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 64 males and females, identified from general practice records as having received a diagnosis of angina within the previous 5 years. Results While some patients described their angina symptoms In narratives consistent with typical anginal symptoms, others offered more complex descriptions of their angina experiences, which were less easy to classify. The latter was particularly the case for severe coronary artery disease, where some patients tended to downplay chest pain or attribute their experience to other causes. Conclusion Patients with a known diagnosis of angina do not always describe their symptoms in a way that is consistent with Diamond and Forrester's diagnostic framework for typicality of angina. Early diagnosis of angina in primary care requires that GPs operate with a broad level of awareness of the various ways in which their patients describe their symptoms. © British Journal of General Practice 2010.




Jones, M. M., Somerville, C., Feder, G., & Foster, G. (2010). Patients’ descriptions of angina symptoms: A qualitative study of primary care patients. British Journal of General Practice, 60(579), 735–741.

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