The Chief Complaint (CC), or termed Presenting Complaint (PC) in the UK, is a concise statement describing the symptom, problem, condition, diagnosis, physician recommended return, or other factor that is the reason for a medical encounter. The patient's initial comments to a physician, nurse, or other health care professional help form the differential diagnosis.
The collection of chief complaint data may be useful in addressing public health issues. Certain complaints are more common in certain settings and among certain populations. Fatigue has been reported as one of the ten most common reasons for seeing a physician. In acute care settings, such as emergency rooms, reports of chest pain are among the most common chief complaints. The most common complaint in ERs has been reported to be abdominal pain. Among nursing home residents seeking treatment at ERs, respiratory symptoms, altered mental status, gastrointestinal symptoms, and falls are the most commonly reported.
- Nelson E, Kirk J, McHugo G, Douglass R, Ohler J, Wasson J, Zubkoff M. "Chief complaint fatigue: a longitudinal study from the patient's perspective." Fam Pract Res J. 1987 Summer;6(4):175-88. PMID 3455125.
- Graff LG 4th, Robinson D. "Abdominal pain and emergency department evaluation." Emerg Med Clin North Am. 2001 Feb;19(1):123-36. PMID 11214394.
- Ackermann RJ, Kemle KA, Vogel RL, Griffin RC Jr. "Emergency department use by nursing home residents." Ann Emerg Med. 1998 Jun;31(6):749-57. PMID 9624316.
- MedEd at Loyola ipm/comphx1/sld003.htm
- Chief+complaint at eMedicine Dictionary
- c_49/12252278 at Dorland's Medical Dictionary