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Chest Pain and Tightness
Chest Pain and Tightness

Chest pain or tightness of the chest can be worrying. One Heart Clinic can help identify the root of the problem and put your mind at ease.

What is chest pain/tightness?

Chest pain or tightness in the chest refers to symptoms which can have a number of causes. In general, chest pain or tightness is not an indication of a serious condition. Although in some cases, prolonged chest pain or tightness, pain spreading to other parts of the body, and shortness of breath can constitute an emergency.

What causes chest pain/tightness?

Chest pain or tightness can be caused by a wide range of conditions. The nature, the timing, and the frequency of the symptoms experienced can offer some clues as to the cause:

Chest sprain - if your symptoms have begun following a chest exercise, or an injury to the chest, and you felt better after resting your chest muscles, a sprain of a chest muscle could be the cause.

Indigestion or heartburn - if your symptoms start after eating, and you also feel bloated or are bringing up fluids, indigestion or heartburn could be the cause.

Chest infection - if you are coughing up mucus, have a high temperature, or the pain intensifies when you breathe, a chest infection could be the cause.

Anxiety attack - if you also experienced an increased heart rate, dizziness and sweating, during a stressful situation, an anxiety attack could be the cause.

Shingles - if you also develop a skin rash which can turn into blisters, as well as a 'tingling' sensation on the skin, shingles could be the cause.

In less common cases, chest pain could be caused by a serious heart condition, such as a heart attack, or pericarditis.

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How is my chest pain/tightness assessed and what treatment will I need?

Doctors, especially in an emergency room, will typically check for signs of a heart attack first, as this could be the most serious immediate threat. That doesn't mean your symptoms are suggestive of a serious heart condition.

Among the immediate tests which can be used to assess the cause of chest pain or tightness are; an Electrocardiogram (ECG), blood tests, a chest x-ray and a CT scan. Follow up tests which are ordered can include an ECG, CT scan, stress tests and a coronary catheterization (angiogram).

The treatment which is advised for chest pain or tightness will be dependent on the cause. Treatments can include making lifestyle changes to improve heart health, medications to treat cardiovascular disorders, and in rarer cases, surgical procedures.

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We believe the best cardiac care can only be achieved by the best cardiologists in their fields, working together, for you and your heart. Our consultants are able to offer appointments throughout the week and at weekends.

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