Acute Chest Pain

Chest pain comes in many forms and isn't always related to the heart

Acute chest pain

Whilst chest pain in any form can be scary, acute chest pain can be particularly worrying. Many different health problems can cause chest pain. The most life-threatening causes involve the heart and lungs. Due to the severity of some chest pain related conditions it is important to seek medical advice if you have acute chest pain.

Acute chest pain

Chest pain can cause many different symptoms depending on the cause. It can be anything from a sharp stabbing pain to a dull ache. It can travel up into the neck and jaw or down the arms, across the back.

It is common that chest pain is unrelated to the heart or lungs but there is no easy way to check without some investigations by a medical professional so it is really important to seek medical advice if you are experiencing chest pain.

Symptoms of heart related chest pain can include:

  • Pressure, burning or tightness in the chest
  • Crushing or searing pain - this can spread to the back, neck, shoulders and down the arms
  • Shortness of breath
  • Cold sweats
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Pain that varies with intensity and comes and goes, lasting more than a few minutes each time

Although chest pain can be related to heart disease, many people with heart disease describe a light discomfort rather than pain. Generally, pain when it is related to heart condition or heart attack is more likely to exhibit the above symptoms.

What are other types of chest pain?

Whilst it can be challenging to distinguish between heart-related chest pain and other types of acute chest pain it is more likely that chest pain is related to causes other than the heart. These symptoms can include:

  • A sour taste 
  • Feeling of food reentering the mouth
  • Pain that gets worse when you move your body
  • Pain the worsens on coughing or deep breathing
  • Pain persisting for many hours
  • Tenderness to press on the chest