If you experience chest pain, you may have a serious condition and need immediate medical attention. While chest pains may be caused by many factors, it is always a good idea to seek the advice of an experienced medical professional. A quick trip to an emergency room such as the Cleveland Emergency Hospital may be the best course of action. CEH maintains an experienced staff and a well-equipped cardiology department and is able to handle any heart-related emergency.
While chest pains should not be ignored, these pains can arise from many causes. Many causes relate to various forms of heart diseases, but some are a result of lung or esophageal issues. Chest pains associated with these conditions may be sharp, dull, aching, stabbing, and burning or a sense of the chest being tight. These different pains are caused by the various medical conditions and only an evaluation by a trained professional can fully identify the pain’s source.
Some of the most severe causes of chest pains and ones that should not be ignored are problems related to the heart. The following list is for general information and should not be used to self-evaluate should you have chest pains. If you have chest pain, you should immediately seek the advice of an emergency room doctor.
Some heart conditions that bring about chest pains include:
- Heart attack (myocardial infarction): A heart attack is often characterized by sharp “crushing” pain in the center or left side of the chest. This pain may be accompanied by sweating, nausea, shortness of breath, or weakness. Immediate emergency attention is required should a person experience a heart attack.
- Coronary artery disease or CAD: Pain from CAD may be caused by reduced blood flow as a result of blockages in blood vessels. Pain from CAD is often referred to as angina and signals the possibility of a future heart attack. This type of pain may spread to the jaw, back, or shoulder.
- Pericarditis: Pericarditis is an inflammation of the sac around the heart and causes a sharp, steady pain.
- Myocarditis: Myocarditis is an inflammation of the heart muscle itself. This can cause trouble breathing, fatigue, fever, and a rapid heartbeat.
- Mitral valve prolapse: If a heart valve fails to close correctly then chest pains, palpitation and dizziness may result.
- Coronary artery dissection: Although rare, this deadly condition is caused by a tear in the coronary artery. This results in sudden and severe pain in the back, neck, and abdomen.
While chest pains are often caused by heart problems, other medical conditions can also cause similar pains. These can be related to lung, gastrointestinal, or esophageal problems. Lung problems can be a cause of chest pains similar to those produced by heart conditions. Pleurisy (inflammation of the chest lining), pulmonary embolism (blood clot in lungs), pneumonia, or pulmonary hypertension (pains similar to angina) can all cause chest pains. These conditions, in and of themselves, can be dangerous and should be evaluated by your doctor.
Other causes for chest pains include gastrointestinal problems such as acid reflux, uncoordinated esophagus muscle spasms, or peptic ulcers. Even bone or muscle problems such rib fractures or muscle strains can bring about sharp chest pains. The number of medical issues that can bring on chest pains is extensive. Nevertheless, because chest pains can indicate life-threatening and severe conditions, you should seek immediate medical attention should you experience chest pains of any variety.
The medical team at Cleveland Emergency Hospital is fully prepared to handle any chest pain issues you may have. Our staff consists of a highly trained group of cardiologists as well as skilled professional nurses, and our lab and diagnostic services can conduct any cardiac test needed. Chest pains can be a source of high anxiety, and the best approach, if you have chest pains, is to visit the emergency room for a thorough evaluation. It is a great relief to learn your pain is not a heart attack and is caused by other issues. On the other hand, if you have a heart attack, it is also a relief to know you’re in good medical hands at CEH. For information, please give us a call at 281-592-5400 (Cleveland Office).