Chest Pain

Chest | Cardiology | Chest Pain (Symptom)


Chest pain may be a symptom of a number of serious conditions and is generally considered a medical emergency. The pain may be in the chest wall or in an organ within the chest.


The most common causes of pain in the chest wall are a strained muscle or an injury, such as a broken rib.

The source of pain may arise from a variety of potential sources: the chest wall including the ribs, the muscles, and the skin; the back including the spine, the nerves, and the back muscles; the lung, the pleura or the trachea; the heart including the pericardium; the aorta; the esophagus; the diaphragm, the flat muscle that separates the chest and abdominal cavities; referred pain from abdominal organs like the stomach, gallbladder, and pancreas.

Pain within the chest may be caused by pleurisy, as a result of bronchitis, pneumonia, or, rarely, pulmonary embolism. Cancerous tumours of the lung may cause pain as they grow and press on the pleura and ribs. gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) disease may lead to heartburn, a burning pain behind the sternum.

The common heart disorder angina pectoris causes pain in the centre of the chest that may spread outwards to the throat, jaw, or arms. Myocardial infarction (heart attack) and acute pericarditis both also produce severe pain in the centre of the chest. Mitral valve may cause sharp chest pain, usually on the left side. Chest pain may also be a result of anxiety and emotional stress.