What causes chest pain and what are its treatments

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Chest pain can range from a dull ache to a sharp stab. It appears in many forms and sometimes, can feel burning or crushing. In some cases, chest pain can travel up the neck, to the jaw, and then spread to one or both arms and back. Chest pain can be caused by many different problems. Among them, the most threatening causes include the lungs and heart. As chest pain can cause serious problems, it is essential to seek instant medical assistance.

What causes chest pain?

Chest pain can be due to multiple causes, and all of them require medical attention. These might include:

Digestive Causes

Disorders of digestive causes can cause chest pain, which includes:

  • Swallowing disorders: Esophagus (food pipe) disorders can lead to difficulty in swallowing and can be painful.
  • Heartburn: When the stomach acid is washed up from the stomach and reaches the tube connecting to the throat (esophagus), a burning and painful sensation occurs behind the breastbone.
  • Pancreas or gallbladder problems: The inflammation of the gallbladder or pancreas or gallstones can cause pain in the abdomen which further spreads to the chest.

Heart-related causes

Major examples of heart-related chest pains include

  • Angina: It is the term used for the chest pain caused by the poor flow of blood to the heart. Angina can be caused by plaque thickening on the inner walls of arteries, restricting the flow of blood.
  • Heart Attack: Blood flow blockage, often due to a blood clot causes a heart attack.
  • Pericarditis Inflammation: This condition occurs due to the inflammation of the sac around the heart (pericarditis), causing sharp pain while lying down or breathing.

Chest Pain Diagnosis

Chest pain is not always a signal of a heart attack. But most health care providers initially check that in the emergency room as it is the most immediate threat to your life. Chest pain diagnosis also includes a number of life-risking lung conditions such as a lung blood clot or a collapsed lung.

Initial Tests

Some immediate tests done by a health care provider for the evaluation of chest pain include

  • Blood Tests
  • Electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG)
  • Computerized Tomography (CT) scan
  • X-ray of chest

Followed-up tests

Depending on the results of the initial test, the health care provider may suggest you some follow-up testing that may include

  • Stress Tests
  • Echocardiogram
  • Advanced Computerized Tomography (CT) scan
  • Coronary Catheterization (Angiogram)

Chest Pain Treatment

Chest pain treatment offered in a chest pain center differs depending on the reason causing your pain. These might include

Medications

Some of the common causes of chest pain are treated by using drugs and medications. These include

  • Aspirin
  • Artery relaxers
  • Acid suppressing medications
  • Blood thinners
  • Antidepressants
  • Thrombolytic drugs

Surgical procedures

The most dangerous causes of chest pain include surgical procedures that are

  • Bypass surgery: In bypass surgery, a blood vessel is used from another part of the body for creating an alternative route for the blood flow around the blocked artery.
  • Angioplasty and stenting: If the chest pain is caused by an artery blockage that feeds the heart, angioplasty is the chest pain treatment typically used to treat the problem.
  • Lung re-inflation: If the chest pain is caused by a collapsed lung, the surgeon inserts a tube in the chest for re-inflating the lung.
  • Emergency dissection repair: Chest pain caused by aortic dissection needs emergency surgery to repair it.

Conclusion

If you have chest pain, an evaluation by an experienced medical provider is a must. Peak Heart and Vascular is a multispecialty cardiovascular group and chest pain centre based in Phoenix, Arizona, having the expertise to diagnose the causes of chest pain and provide appropriate treatment. Don’t hesitate to schedule an evaluation, if you’re experiencing any chest pain symptoms.

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