6 Nov, 14 | by ltempler
This is the first in our series of author profiles. Please let me introduce you to Dr Marian Christoph who published the paper “Mental symptoms in patients with cardiac symptoms and normal coronary arteries” which can be found here.
Hi Dr Christoph please can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got started in scientific research?
I started in science drawing up my doctoral thesis in cardiovascular research in 2001. Since 2005 I´m working in the Heart Center of the University Hospital Dresden. During this period I published several papers on a variety of areas of cardiology.
What made you focus on this specific area?
During the last years I often saw patients suffering from chest pain, which were admitted to our hospital for coronary angiography. Despite of angiographic exclusion of a coronary heart disease numerous patients had persistent complaints. Therefore, together with my co-authors we set up the hypothesis, that many patients suffering from chest pain without coronary heart disease could suffer from mental disorders as cause of their persistent complaints.
What are the messages we should take from your paper?
The most important fact of the current study is, that 70% of patients continue to suffer from chest pain, despite of an angiographic exclusion of a coronary heart disease.
If we want to help these 70% of patients we have to look for differential diagnoses! The current study could show that psychosomatic symptoms are very often in these patients. Therefore we should screen these patients for this kind of disorders. Therefore standardized psychosomatic questionnaires are very practicable, even for cardiologists.
And what limitations should we be aware of?
The interpretability of the results is reduced because the health status of the participants was only measured using subjective ratings. A full psychiatric examination of the patients using a standardized Interview like SCID-I/II (Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV) was not performed
What impact will your study have on the field?
We hope, that this manuscript convince some practical cardiologists to screen chest pain patients without a coronary heart disease for mental disorders. The study shows, that this diagnostic tool is very practicable .
What still needs to be done in the field?
We need a closer cooperation between cardiologists and psychosomatics for better diagnosis and treatment of chest pain patients without coronary heart disease. The cardiologists should perform an early screening for mental symptoms and should transfer the positive patients to psychosomatics for further diagnostic and treatment.