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Forum Name: Miscellaneous Cardiology Topics

Question: Piercing Pain and Spasms in Chest


 Cralfinsam - Mon Aug 03, 2009 2:20 am

I am a 19 year old male. Today, I have had strange pains in my chest. They are on the left side of my chest right by the heart. It is a shooting or piercing pain that only lasts about one second, but sometimes there are multiple pierces in a row and sometimes they are accompanied by a spasm feeling just under my left breastbone. They are not extremely painful, but they are very unsettling. I have had them in the past, but they had not been as frequent or as painful. Sometimes there is a dull aching pain after the pierces as well.

I have gone to the hospital for heart palpitations and rapid heartbeat in the past and I got two EKGs, but they did not find anything wrong with me. Are these pierces connected to my heart or are they something else?
 John Kenyon, CNA - Wed Aug 05, 2009 11:05 pm

User avatar Hi there --

This is a common cause of concern, but I think I can set your mind at ease about it: First, classic heart pain is almost never sharp, "piercing" or spasmodic. It is rarely fleeting, and is almost never felt on the left side of the chest (where the heart is assumed to be located) but rather is generally described as a deep, burning ache or squeezing sensation under the breastbone that lasts more than five minutes, is usually accompanied by other symptoms such as nausea, weakness, shortness of breath, etc., and almost always radiates to one or both shoulders and arms, as well as sometimes the throat or jaw, upper abdomen and sometimes through to the center of the upper back. What you describe is not remotely classic cardiac pain, although it is often reported in patients with a benign condition called mitral valve prolapse (MVP). However, it is most commonly associated with chest wall spasm or inflammation of cartilege between the ribs where they connect to the breastbone. This is a very benign but sometimes annoying problem and usually can be reproduced by twisting of the upper body, deep breathing, or pressing on the location manually. It responds well to over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofin (Advil) and naproxyn (Aleve). What you describe is almost certainly not heart related. It may have been caused by any sort of upper body strain such as heavy lifting. Usually it resolves on its own, but may require NSAID treatment as mentioned above.

Hope this is helpful. Good luck to you.

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