Some chest pain problems can be very serious, as it may be caused by non-cardiac as well as cardiac reasons. Signs and symptoms of chest pain may include a burning sensation, tightness, or heaviness in the chest. Atherosclerosis , angina , lung tumors, chest trauma, abdominal pain, and gastric reflux are just a few potential causes of this type of pain.
This condition is diagnosed by taking the patient’s history and performing a physical exam. Blood tests, imaging tests, and an exercise stress test may be recommended. Prognosis and treatment plans depends on the underlying cause.
What is chest pain?
Chest pain is discomfort and/or pain around the chest. In general, the condition can be divided into heart-related pain (cardiac pain) and pain that is not a result of a heart problem (non-cardiac pain).
If a person is experiencing pain in the chest area and does not know the cause, they should be immediately evaluated by emergency medical personnel.
Causes of chest pain
While there are many causes associated with pain in the chest area, the two major groups of causes are cardiac and non-cardiac causes.
Cardiac pain is caused by an imbalance between the blood supply to the heart and the heart muscle’s oxygen needs. Cardiac pain is usually a result of atherosclerosis (leading to fixed narrowing of the coronary arteries), but it can also be caused by coronary spasms that narrow the arteries intermittently. Cardiac chest pain is also referred to as angina.
Non-cardiac pain has many causes, ranging from infections and muscle or bone problems to conditions such as lung tumors, lung collapse, chest trauma, upper abdominal pain, and gastric reflux.
Although some of the non-cardiac causes of chest pain in the chest area may require emergency care (eg, lung collapse and severe chest trauma), most do not require emergency care.
Signs and symptoms of chest pain
Symptoms of cardiac chest pain are a feeling of discomfort in the chest, including pressure, tightness, heaviness, or burning, which is sometimes associated with a feeling of choking or shortness of breath.
Discomfort is often described as ranging from acute to dull and is usually located in the upper abdomen, back, neck, jaw, left arm, or shoulders, and may be precipitated by exertion, eating, exposure to cold, and/or stress. emotional, and usually lasts about 1 to 5 minutes. For some patients, this pain is relieved by rest or by taking nitroglycerin medication. Generally, the intensity of pain does not change with breathing, coughing, or changing position. Classically, cardiac chest pain is located on the left side of the chest. However, it can occur in the center or on the right side.
Non-cardiac chest pain problems can have many of the symptoms mentioned above. However, non-cardiac pain can change with breathing, coughing, or position. Regardless, pain in the chest area is not normal and should be diagnosed by a heart doctor as it can pose a serious health risk.
Does chest pain symptoms varies in women and children?
Women may have slightly different symptoms of cardiac chest pain, including more nausea and vomiting, dizziness, and pain or discomfort in one or both arms. Pregnant women may experience pain in the chest area due to heartburn, indigestion, breast enlargement, enlargement of the rib cage and stress. In children and adolescents, chest pain is the most common cause of pain in the chest area. There is rarely a heart problem at this age, but it can occur with conditions like Marfan syndrome or a ruptured aorta.
How do I know if my chest pain is serious?
If you have chest pain that you have never had or that is unexplained, or if you suspect that you are having a heart attack, seek emergency medical help immediately. If you experience chest pain that you have never felt or for which you cannot find an explanation, or if you feel pressure in your chest that lasts for more than a few moments, call an ambulance or someone who can take you to an emergency medical department. . Don’t waste time for fear of embarrassment, for thinking they might not be a heart attack symptoms. Even if there is another explanation.
How chest pain is diagnosed?
For the diagnosis of chest pain your doctor will first evaluate your medical history and take physical exam. Initially, the cardiologist wants to distinguish between cardiac and non-cardiac causes and can sometimes do this with the patient’s history. This is important because heart-related chest pain problems may need immediate attention and treatment.
During the patient’s history and physical examination, it is not uncommon for medical personnel to obtain an electrocardiogram (ECG) and a chest X-ray. Elevated blood levels of troponin can indicate damage to the heart muscle. Other blood tests, such as a complete blood count and a baseline metabolic profile, are useful for urgent assessment.
In more complex situations, tests such as an exercise stress test, stress echocardiogram, myocardial perfusion scintigraphy, or VT-angio can be used. Holter monitoring and coronary angiography are other procedures that may be used. Coronary artery disease is detected by coronary angiography which is used to identify atherosclerosis. People with chest pain problems who are not sure whether or not it is due to a heart problem should be evaluated immediately in an emergency department.
Chest pain treatment
Treatment will vary depending on the underlying cause of the pain you are experiencing.
Medications used to treat some of the most common causes of this type of pain include:
- Relaxers – Nitroglycerin (usually taken as a pill under the tongue) relaxes the arteries of the heart so that blood can flow more easily through the narrow spaces. Some blood pressure medications can also relax and dilate blood vessels.
- Aspirin – If doctors suspect that your pain is related to your heart, you will likely be given aspirin.
- Drugs for clots – If you are having a heart attack, you may be given drugs that work to dissolve the clot that is blocking blood to the heart muscle.
- Blood thinners – If you have a clot in the artery that feeds your heart or lungs, you may be given drugs that inhibit blood clotting to help prevent more clots from forming.
- Acid-suppressing drugs – If your pain is caused by stomach acid splashing into your esophagus, your doctor may suggest medications that reduce the amount of acid in your stomach.
- Antidepressants – If you are having panic attacks, your doctor may prescribe antidepressants to help manage your symptoms. And may also recommend psychological therapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy.
These are some of the surgical treatments for chest pain to treat the most dangerous causes of chest pain:
- Balloons and stent placement – If your pain is caused by a blockage in an artery that feeds the heart, doctors insert narrow tubing into a large blood vessel through your groin. Then they implant a balloon to reopen the artery. In many cases, a mesh tube (stent) is inserted to keep the artery open.
- Safene Bridge Surgery – During this procedure, cardiac surgeons take a blood vessel from another part of your body and use it to create an alternate route for blood to bypass around the blocked artery.
- Dissection repair – You may need emergency surgery to repair an aortic dissection, which is a potentially life-threatening condition that can result in the artery that carries blood from your heart to the rest of your body ruptured.