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Chest pain

Chest pain: Introduction

Chest pain can be a symptom of a variety of mild to serious disorders, diseases or conditions. Chest pain can result from infection, infarction, inflammation, trauma, malignancy and other abnormal processes.

Chest pain can occur in any age group or population. Chest pain is often associated with a heart attack and other types of heart disease, but it can also occur with a wide variety of other diseases, disorders and conditions. For example, chest pain can result from a relatively mild to moderate condition that is easy to resolve, such as drinking too much coffee, hyperventilation or an anxiety attack.

Chest pain can also be a symptom of serious or life-threatening respiratory conditions. These include pneumothorax, pneumonia acute bronchitis, bronchiolitis, asthma, COPD, pulmonary embolism and pulmonary edema and lung cancer. Chest pain can also occur as a result of conditions of other body systems, such as the gastrointestinal system. For more details about causes, see causes of chest pain.

Depending on the cause, chest pain can be short-term and disappear quickly, such as when chest pain occurs during hyperventilation or when breathing in very cold air. Chest pain can also occur in sudden, severe episodes, such as chest pain that happens with heart attack or pulmonary embolism. Chest pain can also be chronic and ongoing over a long period of time, such as when it is due to COPD or lung cancer.

Chest pain often occurs in conjunction with other symptoms, which vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition. Other common symptoms include shortness of breath, palpitations, cough, fever, abnormal vital signs, rapid breathing (tachypnea) and labored breathing (dyspnea). Complications of some underlying causes of chest pain can be life-threatening and include low oxygen levels and high carbon dioxide levels in the body, sepsis, shock, cardiac arrhythmias, respiratory arrest, cardiac arrest and death.

Diagnosing chest pain and its root cause begins with taking a thorough personal and family medical history, including symptoms, and completing a physical examination.

Depending on the suspected cause of chest pain, blood tests may include a complete blood count, which can reveal in infectious process, and cardiac assays, which can reveal a cardiac condition. An EKG and chest X-ray are also performed if the cause of chest pain is suspected to be due to heart disease or a respiratory disease. Continuous cardiac monitoring is also done to watch for cardiac arrhythmias.

An exam also includes listening with a stethoscope to the sounds that the heart and lungs make. Certain types of heart sounds, such as a murmur, point to some underlying causes of chest pain, such as mitral valve prolapse. Certain lung sounds point to some underlying causes of chest pain. For example, wheezing may indicate asthma, and a bubbling sound may point to congestive heart failure or pneumonia.

Other important tests include a noninvasive test called a pulse oximetry is generally performed. This involves clipping a painless device to the fingertip, which can measure the amount of oxygen in the blood.

Depending on the suspected cause of chest pain, other tests can include additional blood tests, culture and sensitivity tests, pulmonary function test, and imaging tests, such as CT scan, nuclear scans, and MRI.

A diagnosis of chest pain and its cause can easily be delayed or missed because chest pain may be mild or vague and for other reasons. For information on misdiagnosis, refer to misdiagnosis of chest pain.

Treatment of chest pain involves diagnosing and treating the underlying disease, disorder or condition that is causing it. Some conditions can be easily and successfully treated and cured, while others may require more intensive treatment and may not have an optimal prognosis. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of chest pain....more »

Chest pain: Chest pain is an extremely serious symptom because it may indicate an immediate heart attack, but can have less serious causes such as heartburn, reflux, GERD, etc. Because of the risk of heart attack, seek emergency professional...more »

Chest pain: Misdiagnosis

Diagnosing chest pain and its cause may be delayed or missed because in some cases, chest pain may be vague not and/or not severe enough for a person to seek medical care. Chest pain of a heart attack may be experienced in a wide variety of forms. Typical types of chest pain include epigastric pain, chest squeezing, chest pressure, crushing chest pain and radiating chest pain ...more misdiagnosis »

There are literally hundreds of causes of chest pain, but some are more commonly misdiagnosed than others. The first concern with any type of chest pain (or chest discomfort) is to rule out heart attack, which is often missed. Heart attack is often misdiagnosed in patients with the less typical profile (older white male), such as African Americans or women, where heart attacks can ...more misdiagnosis »

Causes of Chest pain:

The following medical conditions are some of the possible causes of Chest pain. There are likely to be other possible causes, so ask your doctor about your symptoms.

» Review Causes of Chest pain: Causes | Assessment Questionnaire »

Home Diagnostic Testing and Chest pain

Home medical tests possibly related to Chest pain:

Causes of Types of Chest pain:

Review the causes of these more specific types of Chest pain:

Review causes of types of Chest pain in more specific categories:

Review causes of more specific types of Chest pain:

Chest pain Treatments

Treatment plans for chest pain are individualized depending on the underlying cause, the presence of coexisting diseases, the age and medical history of the patient, and other factors. Treatment generally involves a multifaceted plan that addresses the cause, eases the pain, decreases the risk of developing serious complications, and helps a person to rest comfortably and live an active life.

If ...Chest pain Treatments

Some of the possible treatments listed in sources for treatment of Chest pain may include:

Review further information on Chest pain Treatments.

Stories from Users for Chest pain

Real-life user stories relating to Chest pain:

Message Boards for Chest pain

Symptom specific forums: The following patient stories in our interactive forums and message boards relate to Chest pain or relevant symptoms:

Diagnostic tests for Chest pain:

Various tests are used in the diagnosis of Chest pain. Some of these are listed below :

  • Physical examination
    • General appearance e.g. pale and sweating must consider heart attack, dissecting aneurysm or pulmonary embolism
    • Blood pressure - if significantly high must consider dissecting aneurysm, but may also occasionally be significantly high in heart attack.
    • Pulses including radial (at wrist) and femoral (in groin) - check rate, regularity and for the absence of femoral pulse in dissecting aneurysm.
    • Temperature may be elevated in pneumonia or pericarditis
    • Feel and inspect chest wall, lower cervical spine and thoracic spine for evidence of tenderness, fracture and herpes zoster
  • more tests...»

Chest pain: Animations

Medications or substances causing Chest pain:

The following drugs, medications, substances or toxins are some of the possible causes of Chest pain as a symptom. Always advise your doctor of any medications or treatments you are using, including prescription, over-the-counter, supplements, herbal or alternative treatments.

Drug interactions causing Chest pain:

When combined, certain drugs, medications, substances or toxins may react causing Chest pain as a symptom. Always advise your doctor of any medications or treatments you are using, including prescription, over-the-counter, supplements, herbal or alternative treatments.

  • Dymelor and alcohol interaction
  • Diabinese and alcohol interaction
  • Amaryl and alcohol interaction
  • Glucotrol and alcohol interaction
  • Glucotrol XL and alcohol interaction
  • DiaBeta and alcohol interaction
  • more interactions...»

Causes of General Symptom Types

Research the causes of these more general types of symptom:

Research the causes of related medical symptoms such as:

Causes of Similar Symptoms to Chest pain

Research the causes of these symptoms that are similar to, or related to, the symptom Chest pain:

Assessment Questionnaire: Questions your doctor may ask (and why!)

During a consultation, your doctor will use various techniques to assess the symptom: Chest pain. These will include a physical examination and possibly diagnostic tests. (Note: A physical exam is always done, diagnostic tests may or may not be performed depending on the suspected condition) Your doctor will ask several questions when assessing your condition. It is important to openly share any pertinent information to help your doctor make an accurate diagnosis.

It is also very important to bring an up-to-date list of all of your all medical conditions, medications including dosages, and names of numbers of any specialist you see.

Create your printable checklist here.

See Chest pain Assessment Questionnaire (16 listings)

Chest pain: Deaths

Read more about causes and Chest pain deaths.

Misdiagnosis and Chest pain

Heart attacks can be undiagnosed: Although the most severe symptoms of heart attack are hard to miss, there are varying degrees of severity. It is altogether too common for people to die from undiagnosed heart attack, or from delaying too more »

Heart attacks can be overdiagnosed: Although many people die from heart attacks, there are also many cases where people fear that they have more »

Rare heart condition often undiagnosed: The rare heart condition called long QT syndrome can lead to episodes of palpitations and rapid heartbeat. In rare cases, this undiagnosed condition can be fatal. It should be considered for more »

Heart attack can be over-diagnosed: Although heart attack is often undiagnosed, leading to fatality, it can also be over-diagnosed. People become concerned that a condition is a heart attack, more »

Leg cramps at night a classic sign: The symptom of having leg muscle cramps, particularly at night, is a classic sign of undiagnosed diabetes. However, more »

Blood pressure cuffs misdiagnose hypertension in children: One known misdiagnosis issue with hyperension, arises in relation to the simple equipment used to test blood pressure. The "cuff" around the arm to measure blood more »

Hypertension misdiagnosis common in children: Hypertension is often misdiagnosed in adults (see misdiagnosis of hypertension), but its misdiagnosis is even more likely in children. Some of the symptoms more »

Vitamin B12 deficiency under-diagnosed: The condition of Vitamin B12 deficiency is a possible misdiagnosis of various conditions, such as multiple sclerosis (see symptoms of multiple sclerosis). See more »

Chronic lung diseases hard to diagnose: Some of the chronic lung diseases are difficult to diagnose. Even the well-knowns conditions such as asthma or lung cancer often fail to be diagnosed early. Some of the chronic lung diseases with diagnostic more »

Chest pain: Research Related Doctors & Specialists

Other ways to find a doctor, or use doctor, physician and specialist online research services:

Hospitals & Clinics: Chest pain

Research extensive quality ratings and patient safety measures for hospitals, clinics and medical facilities in health specialties related to Chest pain:

Chest pain: Related Rare Diseases

Rare types of medical conditions and diseases in related medical categories:

Chest pain: Undiagnosed Conditions

Conditions that are commonly undiagnosed in related areas may include:

Causes of Chest pain listed in Disease Database:

Other medical conditions listed in the Disease Database as possible causes of Chest pain as a symptom include:

Definitions of Chest pain:

Pressure, burning, or numbness in the chest.
- (Source - Diseases Database)

Pain in the chest
- (Source - WordNet 2.1)

Organs affected by Chest pain:

The list of organs typically affected by Chest pain may include, but is not limited to:

Detailed list of causes of Chest pain

The list below shows some of the causes of Chest pain mentioned in various sources:

How Common are these Causes of Chest pain?

This information refers to the general prevalence and incidence of these diseases, not to how likely they are to be the actual cause of Chest pain. Of the 1053 causes of Chest pain that we have listed, we have the following prevalence/incidence information:

  • 20 causes are "very common" diseases
  • 19 causes are "common" diseases
  • 13 causes are "uncommon" diseases
  • 3 causes are "rare" diseases
  • 31 causes are "very rare" diseases
  • 1010 causes have no prevalence information.

Conditions listing medical symptoms: Chest pain:

The following list of conditions have 'Chest pain' or similar listed as a symptom in our database. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.

Select from the following alphabetical view of conditions which include a symptom of Chest pain or choose View All.

View All A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z




















Conditions listing medical complications: Chest pain:

The following list of medical conditions have Chest pain or similar listed as a medical complication in our database. The distinction between a symptom and complication is not always clear, and conditions mentioning this symptom as a complication may also be relevant. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.












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Causes of Chest pain Based on Risk Factors

This information shows analysis of the list of causes of Chest pain based on whether certain risk factors apply to the patient:

  • Travel - has the patient travelled recently?
  • Diabetes - history of diabetes or family history of diabetes?

    Doctors and specialists: Who should I consult about Chest pain?

    Depending on the seriousness of the onset of Chest pain, you may want to consult one of the following medical professionals.

    Important:In extreme cases, always seek advice from emergency services :

    Classifications of Chest pain:

    Subtypes of Chest pain:

    Angina (41 causes), Chest pressure (175 causes), Chronic chest pain (82 causes), Pleuritic chest pain (25 causes), Acute chest pain (20 causes), Rib pain (31 causes), Chest discomfort (64 causes), Chest tenderness (69 causes), Epigastric pain (93 causes), Flank pain (34 causes), Chest tightness (166 causes)

    Medical Conditions associated with Chest pain:

    Breathing symptoms (3381 causes), Pain (6458 causes), Chest symptoms (1355 causes), Sensations (6520 causes), Respiratory symptoms (5166 causes), Nerve symptoms (9132 causes), Common symptoms (8589 causes), Breath symptoms (3023 causes), Pain symptoms (6458 causes), Sensory symptoms (7134 causes), Neurological symptoms (9575 causes), Throat symptoms (3410 causes), Brain symptoms (2787 causes), Mouth symptoms (6864 causes), Body symptoms (5672 causes), Head symptoms (10192 causes), Face symptoms (8109 causes)

    Symptoms related to Chest pain:

    Angina (41 causes), Pain (6458 causes), Pleuritic chest pain (25 causes), Lung pain, Chest symptoms (1355 causes), Chest tightness (166 causes), Lung symptoms (3280 causes), Heart symptoms (2927 causes), Difficulty breathing (2922 causes), Shortness of breath (1528 causes), Abdominal pain (2568 causes), Back pain (479 causes), Heart attack (138 causes), Anxiety attack (26 causes), Panic attack (26 causes), Esophagitis, Pneumothorax (61 causes), Peptic ulcer, Chest nerve irritation, Pulmonary embolism (28 causes)

    Medical articles on signs and symptoms:

    Doctor-patient articles related to symptoms and diagnosis:

    These general medical articles may be of interest:

    Medical News summaries about Chest pain

    Our news pages contain the following medical news summaries about Chest pain and many other medical conditions:

    Evidence Based Medicine Research for Chest pain

    Medical research papers related to Chest pain include:

    Research More Evidence-Based Medicine at

    Related medical articles from our Disease Center for Chest pain:

    More Ways To Research Medical Signs and Symptoms:


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