Heart pain may be a very important symptom or it may be negligible. Its general interpretation is so obscure and vague that we have made an attempt to work out a provisional classification of practical value in the clinic, where in the past there has tended to be confusion, such as the partial and unsatisfactory separation of pseudo-angina pectoris from true angina pectoris. We have found that apparently more important in the analysis of the pain than its position and character is the underlying cause. Therefore our classification is mainly etiologic.
Very little was written by early medical authorities on the subject of heart pain. Hippocrates mentioned breast pain but without connecting it with the heart. Coelius Aurelianus took scant notice of pain in the breast, and Erasistratus wrote of a "kind of paralysis by which walkers are suddenly seized," forcing them to halt for a moment; but whether
WHITE PD, WOOD JE. THE CLASSIFICATION OF HEART PAIN. JAMA. 1923;81(7):539-542. doi:10.1001/jama.1923.02650070023008