Pain, chest

Other names: Chest pain

DEFINITION

Chest pain can vary from a sharp stab to a dull ache, with some describing it as crushing or burning. It can radiate to the neck, jaw, back, or arms. While many causes exist, those involving the heart or lungs are most serious.

SYMPTOMS

Heart-related chest pain may include pressure, tightness, or pain that radiates to the back, neck, jaw, and arms. Other types of chest pain can be associated with swallowing difficulties or tenderness when pressing on the chest.

CAUSES

Heart-related causes like heart attacks and angina, digestive issues such as heartburn, muscle/bone problems like costochondritis, lung disorders including pulmonary embolism, and other causes like panic attacks can lead to chest pain.

PREPARING FOR YOUR APPOINTMENT

If experiencing new or unexplained chest pain, seek emergency medical help immediately. Provide information on symptoms, medical history, and medications to healthcare providers for a prompt evaluation.

TESTS AND DIAGNOSIS

Immediate tests may include an electrocardiogram (ECG), blood tests, chest X-ray, and CT scan. Follow-up testing could involve an echocardiogram or stress tests to assess heart function.

TREATMENTS AND DRUGS

Treatment varies based on the cause of chest pain. Medications like nitroglycerin and aspirin may be used. Procedures such as stent placement or bypass surgery could be necessary for severe cases.

QUESTIONS

  1. What are common symptoms of heart-related chest pain?

Pressure in the chest

Pain radiating to the back, neck, jaw, and arms

Shortness of breath

  1. What are some digestive causes of chest pain?

Heartburn

Swallowing disorders

Gallbladder or pancreas problems

  1. Which lung disorder can cause chest pain due to a blocked blood vessel?

Pulmonary embolism

  1. What is the immediate test commonly performed for chest pain in an emergency room?

Electrocardiogram (ECG)

  1. What medication is often given if heart-related chest pain is suspected?

Aspirin

  1. What procedure involves inserting a balloon to reopen a blocked artery in the heart?

Balloons and stent placement

  1. When should you seek immediate medical help for chest pain?

If you have new or unexplained chest pain or suspect a heart attack

  1. Which condition involves inflammation of the sac surrounding the heart and can cause sharp chest pain?

Pericarditis

  1. What lung disorder results from air leaking into the space between the lung and ribs?

Collapsed lung

  1. How can panic attacks manifest with chest pain symptoms?

Intense fear accompanied by rapid heartbeat, sweating, shortness of breath