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How can one distinguish cardiac chest pain from non-cardiac chest pain?

Discussion in 'Health Issues' started by anne12, Jul 24, 2010.

  1. anne12

    anne12 New IL'ite

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    Hello Friends.........

    Can anyone tell me the difference between cardiac chest pain from non-cardiac chest pain?


    Thanks
     
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  2. jayanaresh

    jayanaresh Bronze IL'ite

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    Hi
    There is no conclusive way to differentiate between cardiac and non-cardiac chest pain in the home environment. There are many cases where severe heartburn causes chest pain that resembles cardiac disease and only the use of nitrates may allow a person to differentiate between cardiac and non-cardiac chest pain in this instance. Severe chest pain should always be taken seriously and a trip to the emergency room is often warranted to exclude more serious underlying disorders. This can only be done under the supervision of a medical professional in conjunction with the relevant tests and investigations.
    Nature

    • Cardiac
      • Pain is dull, constricting, choking and/or crushing.
      • Other terms to describe ischemic cardiac chest pain includes squeezing, burning or heavy.
      • Sometimes it may just feel like discomfort which is why the character of cardiac chest pain can be so misleading.
      • A common but inconclusive presentation in cardiac chest pain is a patient clutching the chest (picture below).[​IMG]
    • Non-Cardiac
      • The pain may vary from burning to sharp, stabbing and prickling.
      • Chest pain due to anxiety may also result in pain that is similar to cardiac chest pain.
    Location

    • Cardiac
      • The pain is usually central (towards the center of the chest) and fanning outwards (diffuse).
    • Non-Cardiac
      • Pain may be away from the center of the chest where a patient can clearly identify it as a right-sided or left-sided chest pain.
      • Pain is usually localized – located at only one spot which can be clearly pinpointed by the patient.
    Radiation

    • Cardiac
      • Pain to the jaw, neck, shoulder, arms (either one or even both) or back.
      • Sometimes there pain may be radiated to the upper abdomen.
    • Non-Cardiac
      • There may not often be any radiation of the pain or it may radiate to other sites apart from those mentioned above.
      • Gastritis with accompanying GERD may cause a burning chest pain as well as upper abdominal pain and this may be confused for radiation.
    Precipitating Factors

    • Cardiac
      • Triggered or exacerbated by exertion or emotion.
      • At times a large meal or even extremes of temperature, particularly cold, can trigger or exacerbate the pain.
      • Unstable angina may not be triggered by any specific factors.
    • Non-Cardiac
      • Spontaneous although it may be exacerbated by exertion (usually after rather than during activity).
      • Changes in posture, deep or rapid breathing or pressure may also exacerbate the pain.
    Relieving Factors

    • Cardiac
      • Pain is relieved by rest and responds quickly to nitrates.
    Concomitant/Associated Signs and Symptoms

    • Non-Cardiac
      • Other signs and symptom may be present that is helpful in identifying the cause of the pain.
      • Gastrointestinal – bloating, belching, nausea, vomiting and/or regurgitation. Refer to Gastric Chest Pain.
      • Respiratory – shallow breathing, persistent cough, abnormal breathing sounds, difficulty breathing when lying flat, expectorating mucus or coughing up blood. Refer to Lung Chest Pain.
      • Musculoskeletal – limited range of motion, cannot tolerate pressure on the affected area. Refer to Muscle Chest Pain and Bone Chest Pain.
      • Psychological – weepy, depressed, excited, agitated, fearful. Refer to Nerve Chest Pain.
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  3. Beryl

    Beryl Silver IL'ite

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    Thanks for this thread and to jaya for this post..
     

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