Chest Pain Overview Topic Guide
Chest Pain: Chest pain has a variety of noncardiac and cardiac causes, some of which can be very serious. Signs and symptoms of chest pain may include burning, squeezing, or heaviness in the chest. Atherosclerosis, angina, lung tumors, chest trauma, abdominal pain, and gastric reflux are just a few potential causes of chest pain. Chest pain is diagnosed by taking the patient history and performing a physical exam. Blood work, imaging tests, and an exercise stress test may be ordered. The treatment and prognosis of chest pain depends on the underlying cause.
Angina Angina pectoris is a term to describe chest pain that occurs when the heart is not getting enough blood. There are two types of angina, stable (the most common) and unstable. Stable angina generally lasts less than five minutes and is relieved by nitroglycerin tablets. Angina may be caused by heart disease, coronary artery spasm, or other causes. Risk factors include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, smoking, sedentary lifestyle, family history, aging, and stimulant use. Treatment depends upon the source of angina.