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Date of last update: 10/19/2017.

Forum Name: Miscellaneous Chest Diseases

Question: trouble taking deep breaths in 14 year old daughter

 zoelextux - Tue Jul 17, 2007 4:54 pm

My very healthy and active 14yr old daughter has been complaining of trouble taking deep breaths, and pain under her left ribs. She also has an indentation on the left side. The breathing difficulty is not necessarily activity induced. I don't think anxiety is a factor, since she doesn't really have any stress in her life. We went to our family physician, who took 2 chest xrays, and sent her for a PFT, both of which came back as normal. He acknowledged that there was an indentation on her Left side which he feels she was probably born with. My daughter says the symptoms are getting worse and I'm not sure where to go from here. Allergist, Pulmonary specialist? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!!
 Dr. Chan Lowe - Tue Jul 17, 2007 6:39 pm

User avatar Can you please describe her pain a little better for me? Does she get sharp pain or dull pain? Is it constantly there or does it come and go? Does anything make it better or worse? Can she take a deep breath and does deep breathing make the pain worse?

Thanks. This will help me get a better understanding of what may be going on.
 zoelextux - Wed Jul 18, 2007 6:53 pm

My daughter says that the pain is sharp where the indentation is on the left side, when she takes a breath but it comes and goes. It is not painful to the touch. She keeps saying that she can never take a deep breath anymore, only short breaths and it has gotten worse during activity since her PFT on June 25th. She doesn't cough or wheeze though. If it were allergic asthma I would assume the PFT would have picked that up? She was really frustrated when I told her the xrays and PFT were normal, because she definitely feels something is wrong. I just don't know what type of doctor or tests to try next!! She has woken up in the morning short of breath, which is when I decided to take her for the initial doctor's visit on June 11th. She is now getting short of breath when riding her horse or trotting the horse around the ring on a leadline this past week.
 Dr. Chan Lowe - Thu Jul 19, 2007 1:17 pm

User avatar Asthma is a possibility although the PFT's should have shown some degree of obstruction if she were having trouble at the time.

Another possibility with the sharp pain is a condition called pleurisy. Pleurisy is when the lining of the lungs/chest wall (the pleura) become inflamed. It can be very painful. Taking a deep breath causes the lining to rub and induces pain.

A similar condition is called precordial catch syndrome. In this syndrome, it feels as if something is caught when taking a deep breath and can cause intense pain. Subsequently, it feels as if the catch gives way and the pain gets better. The exact cause of this is not known but probably it is a variant of pleurisy.

Pleurisy can be treated with a course of scheduled anti-inflammatory medications (such as ibuprofen). Usually it takes about a week to get better.

I would recommend following up with your doctor to consider this possibility. It may also be worth a trial of albuterol to see if she feels better with it.

Best wishes.

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