Chest pain should never be overlooked as it is frequently linked to the heart. However, you must be aware that there are numerous alternative causes. Chest pain can be caused by various things, including troubles with your lungs, esophagus, muscles, ribcage, or nerves. Several of these illnesses are dangerous and life-threatening. Others, though, are not. If you're experiencing unusual chest pain, the only thing to locate what's causing it is to see a doctor. Chest pain can be sharp, stabbing, dull, burning, or aching. Heart and lungs involvement can signal a major problem; therefore, it's critical to get urgent treatment right away.
There are numerous causes of chest pain. Most of the time, chest pain is caused by anything other than heart disease. It is always better to see a doctor instead of self-diagnosing if you're concerned.
The following are the most frequent causes of chest pain:
Chest pain due to digestive tract involvement:
Chest pain due to bone or muscle involvement:
Chest pain due to heart involvement:
Chest pain due to lung involvement:
Chest pain is a frequent complaint that affects 20 to 40% of the general public at some point in their lives. About 1.5 percent of citizens visit a primary care doctor with chest discomfort symptoms each year.
You may experience various symptoms in addition to chest pain.
Symptoms related to heart disease
Although chest pain is the most prevalent symptom of cardiac disease, some individuals suffer additional symptoms. Atypical symptoms, particularly in women, maybe reported and later be identified as the outcome of a heart problem:
Other signs and symptoms
Indications that your chest pain isn't caused by your heart are as follow:
After taking a detailed history and physical examination, your doctor may advise you to undergo one or more of the following tests to confirm the chest pain.
Electrocardiogram: The heart’s electrical activity is measured in this fast procedure. Adhesive plugs (electrodes) are applied to the chest and the arms and legs in some cases. The electrodes are connected to a computer through wires, which shows findings. An Electrocardiogram can reveal whether the heart is beating excessively quickly, slowly, or not at all. The ECG may suggest that you've had or are experiencing a heart attack because wounded muscle tissue doesn't conduct electrical signals in a regular pattern.
Cardiac enzymes: Increased amounts of specific proteins or enzymes found in cardiac muscle may be detected by blood testing. Injury to cardiac tissue caused by a heart attack may enable these proteins or enzymes to escape into the bloodstream over several hours.
X-ray of the chest: A chest X-ray can reveal the lungs’ state and the size and form of the heart and main blood channels. A chest X-ray can also show lung disorders such as pneumonia or a collapsed lung.
CT scan of the chest: CT scans can identify an aortic dissection or a large blockage in the lung (pulmonary embolism).
Stress tests: These tests are performed to check your heart’s response to find out if the chest pain you are having is due to heart disease or not.
Coronary catheterization: Coronary catheterization is a procedure that involves inserting a catheter into the coronary artery. This procedure allows doctors to see any obstructions in the heart vessels. A catheter is a long, narrow, flexible tube placed into a blood channel and directed to the heart, generally in the pelvis or forearm. Dye is delivered to the heart vessels via the catheter. The dye makes X-ray video and photos show the arteries more effectively. This test is also known as coronary angiogram.
Treatment for chest pain differs based on the cause. These are some medications used to treat chest pain caused by the heart.
Nitroglycerin: This allows blood to flow more freely through the restricted gaps and relaxes the arteries.
Aspirin: If your chest pain is thought to be linked to your heart, you'll most likely be prescribed aspirin.
Thrombolytic medications: These medications remove the clot that prevents blood from flowing to the heart muscle.
Blood thinners are drugs that thin the blood. If you have a blockage in an artery that feeds your heart or lungs, you'll almost certainly be prescribed anticoagulant medicines to stop future clots formation.
Medication that reduces acidity: If stomach acid is splashing into the esophagus and causing chest pain, your practitioner may recommend drugs to lessen the number of stomach acids like proton pump inhibitors (omeprazole) or H2 blockers (ranitidine)
Medications for stress or panic disorder: If you have a panic disorder, your doctor may recommend antidepressants (SSRIs, TCAs, etc.) to help you manage your symptoms. It's also possible that talk treatment, such as cognitive therapy, will be advised.
Angioplasty: This is the most common treatment for chest pain due to an obstruction in a heart artery. A catheter with a balloon on the tip is inserted into a big blood channel, generally in the pelvis, and guided to the obstruction. The balloon is inflated to expand the vessel, then deflated, and the catheter is removed. A tiny stent is frequently kept outside of the catheter's balloon tip. The stent expands and seals into position, keeping the artery intact.
Bypass surgery: It is a procedure that involves the removal of a portion of a blood vessel from some other body part to establish a passage for blood to bypass the clogged artery.
Since various drugs work effectively for chest pain (both cardiovascular and non-cardiac), the outlook of chest pain is usually positive. However, the person's overall outlook is determined by the underlying reason for the chest pain. The prognosis for cardiac and non-cardiac chest discomfort is moderate to bad if the underlying cause is not treated.
Our clinical experts continually monitor the health and medical content posted on CURA4U, and we update our blogs and articles when new information becomes available. Last reviewed by Dr.Saad Zia on May 14, 2023.
Angina (Chest Pain) | American Heart Association
Chest pain - NHS (www.nhs.uk)