May 1970

Cardiac Causalgia

Author Affiliations

New Orleans

From the Department of Medicine, Tulane University School of Medicine; and Charity Hospital of Louisiana, New Orleans.

Arch Intern Med. 1970;125(5):809-814. doi:10.1001/archinte.1970.00310050047003

Cardiac causalgia is a pain syndrome frequently occurring in patients with ischemic heart disease or in patients who have suffered cardiac trauma. The term "cardiac causalgia" was chosen because the syndrome resembles causalgia of the extremities.

Cardiac causalgia minor is characterized by pain over the precordial region, often burning in nature, and of varying intensity. Tender areas of the chest are present. Cardiac causalgia major includes symptoms of cardiac causalgia minor and, in addition, swelling of the arms and hands, trophic changes of chest and arm skin, pulmonary edema, pneumonitis, pericarditis, arthritis, and other systemic features (eg, postcardiotomy, postcommissurotomy syndrome). Five patients presented with the clinical spectrum of the syndrome and its unifying features.