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Date of last update: 10/20/2017.

Forum Name: Cardiology Symptoms

Question: Stabbing Pain In Chest

 Sparky1897 - Mon Jan 07, 2008 10:18 am

I am a 20 year old active female. When I was about 15 I began to get these short stabbing pains that seemed to be coming from my heart. It tend to happen about twice a day lasting for a few short seconds to a minute at times. Sometimes the pain would be minor, at other times it was very incapacitating to the point where I would grab the area and fall to my knees.

Sometimes I go long periods of time where I wont feel this pain for weeks on end but it always has come back for the last five years at some point.

The pain is only in the left side of my chest. It doesn't spread anywhere else. I am not even sure if it is even my heart or perhaps something else.

I have had a Stress Test and an Echocardiogram but both came up negative for anything out of the ordinary.

What makes this so hard on me is that no one can seem to tell me what's wrong and my stress goes up because of it.

I should also state that I am in the military and have been for the last 3 years so I am quite fit. I don't believe it is the stress from my job that is causing this because I felt them long before I joined. Is there a chacne stress could be causing it to keep happening though? I don't have any known heart disease in my family. My older sister did have a serious heart condition when she was young and now has an artificial valve.

Now comes the brutally honest truth. I seem to recall this pain occuring shortly after a very stupid decision in my early teen years to smoke marajuana which I later found out had traces of windex in it. At the time of that stupid choice I felt an excrutiating chest pain that caused the world to spin and me to blackout. I felt as if I was having a heart attack at 15 though I am sure that wasn't it. I haven't touched a single illegal substance since then but the pain still comes around. Could this at all be related to my chest pain? I should also note that my older sister (the same one with the heart condition) made the same stupid choice when she was in her mid teens and had the exact same thing happen to her. Please let me know what you think. I can't describe what I have gone through to try and get this figured out. Thanks so much!
 Dr. Chan Lowe - Sat Jan 12, 2008 9:56 pm

User avatar Hi Sparky1897,

What you are describing sounds very much like a syndrome called Precordial Catch Syndrome. It is currently not well understood what causes this syndrome. It is characterized by sharp, stabbing type pain in the chest often described as if something is caught. The pain is intense until it finally "gives" and goes away. Often, the pain episodes can be intense enough to cause a person to hold their breath briefly in pain.

This syndrome is probably a form of pleurisy, which is an inflammation of the lining of the lungs. It can be set off initially by viral infections, trauma, or possibly even irritation from an inhaled irritant such as the laced marijuana (though this is certainly not a definite cause).

It can sometimes be treated with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen.

If this is what is going on, it is not dangerous just annoying painful. I would suggest you see a doctor at some point to have a full evaluation and make sure that nothing more concerning is going on. Just as a side note, this does not sound like heart related pain.

Best wishes.
 Justwannamakesure - Wed Mar 10, 2010 9:01 am

I have the same symptons as the person above currently and have experienced them alot in the last 5-6 years. But today ive had these pains for around 13 hours now, im having to sloach over so i don't feel the pain as much, my breathing is becoming extremely painful and making my life a bit more difficult. Now with this been going on for a number of hours now would it still be most probable Precordial Catch Syndrome? and with this going on for this amount of time could there be other avenues or consequences for this???
 Dr. Chan Lowe - Tue Mar 30, 2010 9:32 pm

User avatar Hello Justwannamakesure,

The pain you are describing does not sound like Precordial Catch Syndrome. I would recommend you have this evaluated right away given the severity of the pain and the length of time it has been going on.

Best wishes.
 coral88 - Thu Jul 22, 2010 4:41 pm

I have the same symptoms as Sparky, I have had stabbing chest pain for almost a year, comes and goes but is there majority of the time, get it more when feeling run down/ tired left side of chest. sometimes when stretching i can recreate the pain, but no always and the pain is not exactly the same, im 21 and not extemely unhealthy. ECG and blood tests come back as normal but there must be something wrong to keep gettin these pains? they are really gettin me down! also same thing with the marajuana seems to have come on shortly after trying it, not touched it since.

Thank you

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