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Chest Pain Overview (cont.)

How is chest pain treated?

Chest pain is treated according to the underlying cause of pain. Cardiac chest pain may be treated with medications and/or invasive procedures. Coronary angioplasty with stents is used to keep coronary arteries open and coronary bypass surgery is performed to bypass coronary artery blockage.

Non-cardiac chest pain is also treated depending upon the specific cause. In general, most non-cardiac chest pain is treated medically. Infrequently, non-cardiac chest pain may require surgical intervention (for example, lung tumor or chest tube placement for a collapsed lung segment).

Can chest pain be prevented?

Many forms of chest pain can be prevented. This is true for both cardiac and non-cardiac chest pain. For example, cardiac chest pain may be prevented in individuals that choose not to smoke and live a healthy lifestyle that includes low-fat foods, fiber, and exercise. Individuals that have risk factors for cardiac disease can reduce their risk and concomitant chest pain by following the instructions and medications provided by their doctor. Reducing atherosclerosis, the most common cause of cardiac chest pain, results in chest pain prevention.

Like cardiac chest pain, non-cardiac chest pain may be prevented by preventing the underlying causes of pain. For example, avoiding situations that may increase your risk for pneumonia, chest muscle strain, or chest trauma are ways to prevent non-cardiac chest pain.

What's the prognosis for chest pain?

Most often the prognosis for chest pain (both cardiac and non-cardiac) is good because there are several medications that work quite well for chest pain. However, the ultimate prognosis for the patient depends on the underlying cause of the chest pain. If the underlying cause for both cardiac and non-cardiac chest pain is not addressed, then the prognosis can be fair to poor.

Because cardiac chest pain is a symptom of heart problems, recurrent and longer-lasting cardiac chest pain is a sign that the heart problem might be getting worse.

Medically reviewed by Avrom Simon, MD; Board Certified Preventative Medicine with Subspecialty in Occupational Medicine


"Chest Pain in Children and Teenagers." The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. May 2013.

"Heart Attack Symptoms in Women." American Heart Association. 1 Oct. 2013.

Alaeddini, J., et al. "Angina Pectoris." Medscape. 1 Apr. 2013.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/20/2017

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