Chest Pain (cont.)
Benjamin Wedro, MD, FACEP, FAAEM
Dr. Ben Wedro practices emergency medicine at Gundersen Clinic, a regional trauma center in La Crosse, Wisconsin. His background includes undergraduate and medical studies at the University of Alberta, a Family Practice internship at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario and residency training in Emergency Medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.
Daniel Lee Kulick, MD, FACC, FSCAI
Dr. Kulick received his undergraduate and medical degrees from the University of Southern California, School of Medicine. He performed his residency in internal medicine at the Harbor-University of California Los Angeles Medical Center and a fellowship in the section of cardiology at the Los Angeles County-University of Southern California Medical Center. He is board certified in Internal Medicine and Cardiology.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
In this Article
- Chest pain facts
- Chest pain introduction
- What are the sources of chest pain?
- What are the causes of chest pain?
- How is chest pain diagnosed?
- What is the philosophy of the approach to chest pain diagnosis?
- What is the diagnosis and treatment for chest pain?
- Broken or bruised ribs
- Pleuritis or pleurisy
- Pulmonary embolism
- Angina and heart attack (myocardial infarction)
- Aorta and aortic dissection
- Esophagus and reflux esophagitis
- Referred abdominal pain
- Find a local Doctor in your town
Referred abdominal pain
Conditions in the abdomen can present as pain referred to the chest, especially if there is inflammation along the diaphragm. Inflammation of the stomach, spleen, liver, or gallbladder can initially present with nonspecific pain complaints that may be associated with vague chest discomfort. Physical examination and time to allow the disease process to express itself often allow the appropriate diagnosis to be made. It is also the reason that the whole body is examined, even if the initial complaint is chest pain.
- Similarly, conditions in the chest may initially present as abdominal pain.
- Myocardial infarction of the inferior or lower portion of the heart can present as indigestion.
- Pneumonia can present as upper abdominal pain, especially if the lung inflammation is next to the diaphragm.
- Aortic dissection can present with chest pain, abdominal pain, or both, depending upon where the dissection occurs.
Medically reviewed by Rambod Rouhbakhsh, MD, MBA, FAAFP; Diplomat American Board of Family Medicine
Tintinalli, Judith E., et al. Tintinalli's Emergency Medicine: A Comprehensive Study Guide. 7th edition. McGraw-Hill, 2010.
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