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Feeling pain in the Chest? No, It’s not necessarily a Heart Attack!


Chest pain is a broad term which can mean pain occurring in any region between the neck and upper abdomen.

Chest pain can differ from person to person based on:

  • Quality
  • Intensity
  • Duration
  • Location

Nature of pain explains a lot about the severity of the pain. Diagnosis becomes easier once the doctor gets knowledge about the nature of pain.

A person might explain the pain as:

  • Sharp
  • Dull
  • Burning
  • A tight or squeezing
  • Stabbing

Depending on the location of pain, chest pain can be differentiated as:

  • Cardiac (pertaining to its origin in the heart)
  • Non- Cardiac (pain occurring elsewhere except from heart)

What could be the possible causes of Cardiac Chest Pain?

Chest pain because the heart is felt due to one of the following heart problems:
Coronary Artery Disease, or CAD. -A blockage in the heart blood vessels causing reduced blood flow and oxygen to the heart muscle. This may give rise to pain in the chest known as Angina. This chest pain is radiating in nature and may spread to arm, shoulder, jaw, or back. It may feel like a pressure or squeezing sensation. Chest pain or angina can be an early sign of a heart attack.

Myocardial infarction (heart attack) – The death of heart muscle cells due to complete obstruction in blood flow give rises to heart attack Myocarditis. Inflammation of myocardium or the heart muscle causes chest pain which is accompanied by fever, fatigue, fast heartbeat, and troubled breathing.

Pericarditis- An inflammation or infection of pericardium causes pain similar to that caused by angina.

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy– The genetic disease in which the heart muscle abnormally thickens leading to interrupted blood flow and hence the chest pain.

Mitral valve prolapse- a condition in which a valve in the heart fails to close properly.
Coronary artery dissection- causes a sudden severe pain with a tearing sensation that goes up into the neck, back or abdomen.

Apart from the heart what are the other problems giving rise to Chest pain?


Gastrointestinal causes of chest pain

  •  Heartburn
  • Acid reflux
  • Gallstones
  • Swallowing problems related to disorders of the esophagus
  • inflammation of the pancreas or gallbladder

Lung-related causes of chest pain

  • Pneumonia
  • Bronchitis caused by virus
  • Pneumothorax
  • Pulmonary emboli
  • Bronchospam

Muscle- or bone-related causes of chest pain

  • Sore muscles from exertion
  • Chronic pain syndromes
  • Fractures causing pressure on a nerve
  • Costochondritis – inflammation of cartilage located in chest wall

Other causes
Psychological causes:

  •  Anxiety
  • Panic attacks

Shingles Caused by the varicella-zoster virus

How to Diagnose a Chest pain?
A doctor will diagnose the cause of chest pain by looking into the symptoms, pattern, and intensity of the pain. If at all it is a severe, non-explainable kind of chest pain visit the Cardiologist at Cheema Medical Complex, for it may be indicative of heart attack.

We at Cheema Medical Complex are well equipped with Diagnostic (ECG, ECHO, TMT, HOLTER monitors) as well as state of art therapeutic Cath Lab for proper diagnosis and treatment of cardiac chest pain.

Treatments for Heart-related causes of chest pain include:

  •  Medications, including Nitroglycerine
  • Clot-busting drugs, or blood thinners
  • Coronary angiography
  • Coronary angioplasty or CABG
  • Temporary and permanent Pacemakers

Treatments for other causes of chest pain include:

  • Lung re-inflation for a collapsed lung
  • Antacids for acid reflux and heartburn
  • Anti-anxiety medications for chest pain related to panic attacks