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Forum Name: Cardiology Symptoms

Question: Sharp Chest Pain


 Syrius323 - Sat Dec 01, 2007 5:18 pm

Lately I have been experiencing a sharp shooting pain on the left side of my chest, seemingly coming from my heart. It typically occurs when I am at rest, for example watching TV or eatting a meal. It has really only been doing this for the last week or so but it happens 2-3 times per day and lasts for 2-4 seconds.

I don't know if it is related, but throughout my life I have experienced a very sharp pain over my heart maybe 2-3 times per year. My mom said she used to have the same problem when she was younger but her doctor said there was no problem. The pain I experience with this usually lasts 10-20 seconds and during this time it is very difficult to take deep breaths.

It has always concerned me, but especially now with the pain occuring daily, although shorter in duration, I am becoming very worried. I am a 24 year old male, 160 lbs, not very physically active. I recently became uninsured so I wanted to try here before I head in to see a doctor. Thanks for your help!
 Dr. Chan Lowe - Thu Jan 31, 2008 1:04 pm

User avatar Hi Syrius323,

Heart pain is generally more of a dull, painful pressure that is a bit hard to put into one specific spot. Sharp, shooting pain tends not to be from the heart (although there are exceptions to every rule). The pain you are describing sounds to me to be more consistent with pleurisy or possibly costochondritis.

Pleurisy is inflammation of the lining of the lungs/chest wall. The pain can be very severe. Classically, this pain is made worse by deep breathing because this causes the inflamed lining to rub on the chest wall. It can come and go and often pain attacks are brief.

Costochondritis is inflammation of the cartilage part of the rib (along the front portion of the rib). This pain is classically reproduced by pushing on the area that hurts.

Both these conditions can come and go. Both are best treated by using an anti-inflammatory such as ibuprofen. Having said that, the heart is nothing to be wrong about so I would recommend you see a doctor for this to be sure your heart is OK if your pain is continuing.

Best wishes.

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