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Atypical Chest Pain

Chest pain can occur as a result of many problems, but those associated with the heart and lungs are the most severe and can be life threatening. New or unexplained chest pain lasting for more than a few minutes demands immediate medical help, as it could be the sign of something serious. In addition, chest pain associated with other symptoms, such as sweating, nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, dizziness, lightheadedness, irregular pulse and pain that spreads from the chest to shoulder, arms, neck, or jaw, is an emergency situation.

At the emergency department, your doctor will try to determine the cause of your chest pain by reviewing your medical history, performing a thorough physical exam, and order various diagnostic tests such as electrocardiogram, blood tests, chest X-ray, echocardiogram, CT scan, MRI, stress tests and angiogram.

Treatment will depend on the underlying cause of the chest pain. You may be given IV fluids, oxygen and medication to dissolve any blood clots that could be causing the chest pain. Your ER doctor may perform cardiac catheterization, where a flexible tube is guided into the heart through a blood vessel present in the groin or wrist, to open a blocked artery. You also may be transferred to the hospital for further treatment.