Chest Pain Evaluation

Chest pain may be caused by decreased blood flow to the heart, problems with the lungs, the ribs or the muscles.

Chest pain is considered an emergency.  Risk factors for cardiac chest pain (aka heart attack or MI) include:

smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes mellitus, and a previous history of heart disease

When a person visits the emergency room for chest pain, they undergo this evaluation:

Blood pressure, pulse, breathing rate, heart rhythm, an IV is placed and oxygen is provided.

EKG and chest Xray tests are done.

If the EKG and chest Xray are not helpful, then blood tests are done to evaluate cardiac chest pain.  Other tests may be done depending on the results of these tests.

These are some examples of noncardiac causes of chest pain

Pulmonary embolism (blood clot in lungs)

Pneumothorax

Asthma

Esophagus muscle spasm

Irritation of the esophagus

Heartburn (GERD)

Musculoskeletal – Rib pain, costochondritis, etc.