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Acupuncture as a potential treatment for non-cardiac chest pain – a survey
  1. Hugh MacPherson, senior research fellow1,
  2. Jo C Dumville, research fellow2
  1. 1
    Foundation for Traditional Chinese Medicine, York, UK and Department of Health Sciences, University of York, UK
  2. 2
    Department of Health Sciences, University of York, UK
  1. hm18{at}


Objective To establish the level of interest in acupuncture as a treatment option for non-cardiac chest pain and to identify the factors associated with this interest.

Background Non-cardiac chest pain is known to be a prevalent condition in the general population. Treatment options are limited. Given that acupuncture has a potential role in the treatment of chronic pain, this study was designed to establish the levels of interest in acupuncture among people with continuing non-cardiac chest pain.

Methods This small study formed part of a larger retrospective cohort study, and was conducted with all 235 people who were given a diagnosis of non-cardiac chest pain at the Rapid Access Chest Pain Unit in York within a 14 month period. We collected data on whether people continued to experience chest pain, and if so, whether they had considered, or would consider, acupuncture as a treatment. We used ordinal logistic regression to investigate potential covariates, including sex and age, that might be associated with this interest.

Results In total, 161 (69%) participants returned questionnaires, 75 (47%) of whom were experiencing continued chest pain with a median duration of 5.4 months. Of these participants, 42% reported that they would consider acupuncture, 36% reported that they would not, and 22% did not know. In the ordinal regression model, we found no covariates significantly associated with the strength of participants’ interest in acupuncture.

Conclusion People with continuing non-cardiac chest pain after attending a Rapid Access Chest Pain Unit have shown considerable interest in acupuncture as a primary care treatment option.

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