Swelling in the chest

Alternative titles: chest pressure, chest discomfort, chest pains

Pain or discomfort in the chest, or in the chest - a pain that a person feels anywhere along the chest, between the neck and upper abdomen.


Many people with chest pain experience fearheart attack. Nevertheless, there are many possible causes that cause chest pain. Some reasons are not dangerous to human health, while other causes are serious and even life threatening. Any organ or tissue in the chest can be a source of pain, including the heart, lungs, esophagus, muscles, ribs, tendons or nerves. Pain can also spread to the chest from the neck, abdomen and back.

Causes pains in the chest


Heart or blood vessel problems that can cause chest pain:

- Angina pectoris or heart attack. Chest pain is the most common symptom that is felt as tightness, strong pressure, constriction, crushing or pain. Pain can extend to the hands, shoulders, teeth or back;
- a rupture in the wall of the aorta (a large blood vessel that takes blood from the heart to the rest of the body) causes sudden, severe pain in the chest and upper back (aortic dissection);
- edema (inflammation) of the pericardium, which surrounds the heart (pericarditis), causes pain in the central part of the chest.


Problems with the lungs that can cause chest pain:

- a thrombus in the lungs (pulmonary embolism);
- collapse of the lung (pneumothorax);
- pneumonia - causes severe pain in the chest, which often gets worse when the patient takes a deep breath or coughs;
- swelling of the mucous membrane around the lungs (pleurisy) - can cause acute pain in the chest, which often becomes worse when the patient takes a deep breath or coughs.

Other causes of chest pain:

- panic attack, which often occurs with rapid breathing;
- inflammation in the area of ​​joining the ribs to the chest or bones of the sternum;
- Shingles, which causes a sharp tingling and pain on one side, which stretches from chest to back and can cause a rash;
- Stress of muscles and tendons between the ribs.

Pain in the chest can also be associated with the following problems of the digestive system:

- spasms or narrowing of the esophagus (a tube that carries food from the mouth to the stomach);
- stones in the gallbladder - cause pain, which increases after eating (more often - from fatty foods);
- Heartburn or GERD;
- a stomach ulcer or gastritis (burning pain occurs if the stomach is empty, and pain may not be at all when a person eats).


In children, most cases of chest pain have a cause not in the heart.

It is better for most people to consult their physician to find out and understand the causes of chest pain and what measures to take in case of seizures at home.

The patient should consult his doctor if:

- he had a sudden crushing, constriction, tightening or pressure in the chest;
- pain spreads (radiates) to the jaw, the left arm or between the shoulder blades;
- the patient - nausea, dizziness, sweating, heart palpitations or shortness of breath;
- angina and chest discomfort suddenly became more intense, caused by mild activity, or they last longer than usual;
- symptoms of angina arise even at rest;
- There are sudden, sharp pains in the chest, withshortness of breath, especially after a long trip, or during bed rest (for example, after an operation), or if there is a loss of movement, especially if one leg swells and it swells more swollen than the other (it can be a thrombus, part of which has come off and moved to the lungs ).

The risk of a heart attack increases if:

- the patient has a family history of heart disease;
- the patient smokes, or is overweight;
- the patient has high cholesterol. high blood pressure or diabetes.

The patient should consult his doctor if:

- it has a high body temperature or cough with yellow-green sputum;
- He has a heavy and not passing pain in his chest;
- he had problems with swallowing;
- chest pain lasts longer than 3-5 days.

The doctor can ask questions such as:

- whether there is pain between the shoulder blades, under the breastbone or the location of the pain - without change;
- only one side pain;
- as if the patient described the pain: serious, with a rupture, without a rupture, sharp, stitching, burning, compressive, hard, pressing, like crushing, aching, dull, heavy, etc .;
- Does the pain suddenly occur?
- Does pain occur at the same time every day;
- Does the pain get better (weaken) or worse (worse) when the patient moves;
- whether pain can occur when the patient's chest is pressed;
- if the pain gets worse, - how long it lasts;
- Whether the pain passes from the chest - into the shoulder, arm, neck, jaw or back;
- whether the pain weakens or intensifies when the patient breathes deeply, coughs, eats, bends, bends down;
- pain weakens or intensifies when the patient works and after he has rested, disappears completely - or only decreases;
- pain decreases after taking nitroglycerin, after eating or taking antacids, after eructation, etc .;
- what other symptoms are there in the patient.

Types of tests that the patient passes depend on the cause of the pain and on what the patient still has medical problems or risk factors.