When we say that someone has chest pain, the first condition that the doctor (and the patient) thinks of is ischemic – anginal pain, pain that occurs in coronary heart disease, angina pectoris (stable or unstable) and acute myocardial infarction.
Chest pain is one of the symptoms that most often cause great fear in patients because they are associated with a heart attack. However, that fear is justified.
Chest pain can be trivial, but it can also be life-threatening!
When it comes to such situations, the previous and current history of the disease is of great importance.
Many patients usually call the doctor late because they think that the only concern is chest pain, which is severe and accompanied by general weakness. However, the severity of chest pain often does not determine the severity and severity of a disease.
Chest pain can occur as a consequence of many diseases and conditions that affect the superficial parts of the chest or the organs inside it.
Nerve fibers react to the resulting damage, and as these fibers are less in the internal organs (heart, lungs, blood vessels), and much more in the superficial tissues (skin, muscles, ribs) and chest pain is felt differently depending on where was created. While superficial pain is more clearly localized and reacts to provocations (movement, touch, and deep breath), the pain in the heart is poorly localized and often transmitted- it can be felt in the left and right half of the chest, arms or shoulders.
Sometimes a mild feeling of discomfort in the chest, or even not in the chest, but also in the upper part of the stomach, is a possible sign of some diseases, such as unstable angina, acute heart attack and others.
In such situations, consideration of specific cardiac risk factors may help in making the diagnosis, while routine tests can often miss the diagnosis.
Emergency department for chest pain
The innovative fast track solution for chest pain implies an urgent cardiac assessment due to the appearance of complications that are a consequence of certain pains.
- Urgent admission
- Complete diagnostics and examinations
- Observation of the condition
- Cardiac intervention or discharge after stabilization
A quick chest pain band involves admission, cardiac examination, diagnosis and treatment in a very short time.
After examinations and tests, within two hours when all the results arrive, we will have a clear picture of your condition. It depends on whether we will release you at home with the therapy, keep you under observation and then release you at home if the condition stabilizes, or we will suggest an emergency cardiac intervention.
Types of chest pain
Chest pain manifests itself differently, depending on where it occurs.
The intensity of the pain can vary from mild discomfort, tightness or pressure in the chest to strong, tearing pain.
The duration of pain can be different: from a few seconds in the form of stabbing, a few minutes, to several hours and days.
The localization of pain can be just behind the sternum or it spreads and is felt in the shoulders, arms, abdomen, neck, jaw, between the shoulders, and rarely even in the groin and thighs.
Accompanying symptoms, such as sweating, suffocation, “heart palpitations”, nausea, vomiting, weakness, fainting and loss of consciousness, may or may not be present.
Chest pain can be of the same intensity throughout its duration, and can also change in intensity depending on body position, physical activity or arousal.
Based on these characteristics of pain, it is often possible to guess with high probability where the source of pain is: in superficial musculoskeletal structures, or in the interior, in the heart and blood vessels, digestive organs or in the respiratory organs.
Describe chest pain to our cardiologist
Doctors use several pieces of information to determine who has and who does not have a heart attack. In addition to describing your symptoms and heart risk profile, doctors use electrocardiogram (ECG) results and a blood test called cardiac specific troponin. But sometimes this does not immediately show abnormalities. So, what you describe to the doctor and your medical history are extremely important in determining the initial steps in your treatment.
Here are a few things our doctors will want to know about what you are experiencing:
- How do you feel (pain, pressure, tightness, etc.)?
- Where is the discomfort localized?
- When did it start?
- Has the condition worsened or remained the same?
- Is the feeling constant or is it coming and going?
- Have you already felt that before?
- What did you do before these symptoms started?
Clear answers to these questions go in the direction of making a diagnosis.
A few seconds of repeated stabbing pain is less likely to be a heart attack while more dangerous is the pain in the center of the chest that spreads to the left arm or jaw.
There are so many reasons to delay calling for help when you feel chest pain.
- I’m too young (You’re not – even people in their twenties can have a heart attack).
- I am in great shape (Heart attack is sometimes the first sign of heart disease).
- I have a family to take care of (All the more reason to come to the hospital quickly).
- I don’t want to bother anyone (You would suffer more with advanced heart failure or if you become the burden for your family).
Classification of angina pain in the chest
Class I normal physical activity does not cause pain (walking, climbing stairs)
Class II low physical activity leads to pain (walking on a flat surface, climbing stairs)
Class III easy restriction of normal activity leads to pain (walking or climbing stairs, walking uphill, pain after a meal, in the cold, wind, due to emotional stress)
Class IV inability to perform any physical activity without pain (pain may be present at rest)