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Date of last update: 10/20/2017.

Forum Name: Cardiology Symptoms

Question: Chest and Heart pains after Flail Chest

 PKirby - Tue Nov 17, 2009 3:26 am


About 6-7months ago I was in a car accident where I cracked my chest (front), broke 4 ribs (left front), broke 3 ribs (left back), broke my chollar bone (left), damaged my heart (not sure about detail) resulting in my left lung to collapse.

After an agonizing 3months I went back to work and functioned normally. I would however get chest pains from time to time. Then I started getting really bad heart burns. I went to swollow a camera and they found about 4 small wounds in my diafragma (sorry don't know the english one) so they gave me pills and I am currently drinking them every morning.

Since yesterday (17/11/09) Ive been getting really bad chest pains (left and front) and heart pains. I did go to my Cardiothoracic Surgeon and took new x-rays and he was happy with them.

I am howerver affriad that this pain might be serious. I did start smoking again which I know is not good but is this the reasons of these pains?

Thank You very much.

 John Kenyon, CNA - Mon Nov 30, 2009 10:30 pm

User avatar Hi there -- Since the chest x-rays came back normal there's probably nothing serious going on. If you had some fluid buildup around the heart that would show, at least if it were significant, and that can sometimes cause sharp chest pains that don't reflect actual heart damage. The injury to your heart was probably cardiac contusion, that is bruising of the heart muscle, which is often seen with flail chest and sometimes can cause that fluid buildup (pericarditis). It seems not to be the case, however.

You did sustain a pretty severe and widespread chest trauma, and having had so many supporting structures fractured (mostly ribs) it's hardly surprising you'd develop some later pain. My question is this: does this pain get worse in breathing in? And does it hurt more if you move your body certain ways? If so, it is probably just residual chest wall pain and not serious. If taking in a deep breath causes sharp pain up into the shoulder area, you could still have some pericarditis or pleurisy from the initial injury. Luckily these are not serious conditions as a rule, and often respond well to simple non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications. If this continues I'd ask the doctor if it would be okay to try something like naproxyn or ibuprofin to help relieve the pain. If you do and it works, this is definitely just musculoskeltal residual pain and will eventually go away.

I hope this is helpful. Good luck to you. Please follow up with us here as needed.

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