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Common Causes of Chest Pain

Last updated 4 years ago

Chest pain is a classic sign of an array of medical emergencies, such as a heart attack. Fortunately, there are also plenty of non-life-threatening conditions that can lead to chest pain, including panic attacks. However, since only a physician can determine whether your chest pain is a serious or benign condition, it’s critical to go to the emergency room if you experience this symptom.

Heart Attack

Heart attacks typically occur when the flow of blood to the heart is obstructed by a blood clot. The lack of blood flow damages the heart muscle. Although a heart attack can be fatal, emergency room physicians can provide life-saving treatments. In addition to chest pain, a heart attack can cause symptoms such as dizziness, shortness of breath, nausea, and sweating. Women often do not experience the typical symptoms of a heart attack like chest pain. Instead, they may experience shoulder or jaw pain, nausea, and difficulty breathing.


The pericardium is the membrane that is located around the heart. Pericarditis occurs when this membrane becomes irritated and swollen, causing sudden chest pain. Pericarditis is usually an acute condition, which means the symptoms resolve within a few weeks; however, some patients may experience chronic pericarditis. In addition to chest pain, you might notice discomfort spreading into the left shoulder and neck. The pain may intensify upon coughing, swallowing, or breathing deeply.

Panic Attack

Panic attacks can be frightening events characterized by severe fear or anxiety. Although this medical condition is psychological in nature, it produces physical symptoms such as chest pain, sweating, shortness of breath, dizziness, rapid heartbeat, and hyperventilation. If you experience these symptoms, the doctor at the emergency room can perform tests to rule out other possible causes such as heart attack.      

Englewood Community Hospital is dedicated to providing unparalleled patient care in a friendly, comfortable setting. If you require emergency care in the Venice, Englewood, or Northport areas, you should call 911 right away. Otherwise, connect with our hospital by calling (888) 685-1598 or visiting our website.


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Disclaimer: The materials provided are intended for informational purposes only. You should contact your doctor for medical advice. Use of and access to this website or other materials do not create a physician-patient relationship. The opinions expressed through this website are the opinions of the individual author and may not reflect the opinions of the hospital, medical staff, or any individual physician or other healthcare professional.
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