Question

Healthcare Basics

What is a chief complaint?

A Answers (1)

  • ASteven Gurland, MD, Internal Medicine, answered on behalf of MDLIVE

    A  Chief complaint is the medical term used to describe the primary problem of the patient that led the patient to seek medical attention and of which they are most concerned.

    The chief complaint is obtained by the Physician in the initial part of the visit when the medical history is being taken.It will be elicited by asking the patient what brings them to be seen ?and what major symptoms or problems they are experiencing?

    It is not the part of the history that deals with chronic medical problems or family history of disease.It focuses the physicians attention on what the priority should be in the evaluation of the patient. It helps to direct  the additional history taking and it helps to lead to the appropriate physical exam of the pertinent organ systems of the patient that are relevant to the problem.

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