Chest pain - UK-Cardiologist

Online cardiology consultation service

UK-Cardiologist
UK-Cardiologist
Go to content

Chest Pain:

The first thing you may think of is heart attack. Certainly chest pain is not something to ignore. But you should know that it has many possible causes. In fact, as much as a quarter of the U.S. population experiences chest pain that is not related to the heart. Chest pain may also be caused by problems in your heart, lungs, esophagus, muscles, ribs, or nerves, for example. Some of these conditions are serious and life threatening. Others are not. If you have unexplained chest pain, the only way to confirm its cause is to have a doctor evaluate you.
You may feel chest pain anywhere from your neck to your upper abdomen. Depending on its cause, chest pain may be:
  • Sharp
  • Dull
  • Burning
  • Aching
  • Stabbing
  • A tight, squeezing, or crushing sensation

                            

Chest Pain Causes: Heart Problems

Coronary Artery Disease, or CAD:

A blockage in the heart blood vessels that reduces blood flow and oxygen to the heart muscle itself. This can cause pain known as angina. It's a symptom of heart disease but typically does not cause permanent damage to the heart. It is, though, a sign that you are a candidate for a heart attack at some point in the future. The chest pain may spread to your arm, shoulder, jaw, or back. It may feel like a pressure or squeezing sensation.
Typical angina can be triggered by exercise, excitement, or emotional distress and is relieved by rest. If something changes in the blood vessels angina can occur at rest, even leading to a heart attack. Chest pain at rest or on minimal exertion is one of the commonest reasons for admission to hospital and makes up a large proportion of my work as cardiologist and interventionalist.

Myocardial infarction (heart attack):

This reduction in blood flow through heart blood vessels causes the death of heart muscle cells. Though similar to angina chest pain, a heart attack is usually a more severe, crushing pain usually in the center or left side of the chest and is not relieved by rest. Sweating, nausea, shortness of breath, or severe weakness may accompany the pain

Myocarditis:

In addition to chest pain, this heart muscle inflammation may cause fever, fatigue, fast heart beat, and trouble breathing. Although no blockage exists, myocarditis symptoms can resemble those of a heart attack.

Pericarditis:

This is an inflammation or infection of the sac around the heart. It can cause pain similar to that caused by angina. However, it often causes a sharp, steady pain along the upper neck and shoulder muscle. Sometimes it gets worse when you breathe, swallow food, or lie on your back.

Coronary artery dissection:

A variety of factors can cause this rare but deadly condition, which results when a tear develops in the coronary artery. It may cause a sudden severe pain with a tearing or ripping sensation that goes up into the neck, back, or abdomen.

Back to content