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Chest pain: First aid – Mayo Clinic

To start with help for chest discomfort depends on the bring about. Will cause of chest discomfort can change from slight challenges, these kinds of as heartburn or psychological tension, to really serious healthcare emergencies, these kinds of as a coronary heart assault or blood clot in the lungs (pulmonary embolism).

It can be tough to explain to if your chest discomfort is thanks to a coronary heart assault or other health and fitness condition, particularly if you’ve hardly ever had chest discomfort before. You should not try to diagnose the bring about on your own. Look for crisis healthcare assistance if you have unexplained chest discomfort that lasts far more than a couple of minutes.

Heart assault

A coronary heart assault normally results in chest discomfort for far more than fifteen minutes. The discomfort may possibly be delicate or intense. Some coronary heart attacks strike abruptly, but quite a few men and women have warning signs hrs or days in advance.

Someone possessing a coronary heart assault may possibly have any or all of the next:

  • Upper body discomfort, strain or tightness, or a squeezing or aching sensation in the center of the chest
  • Ache or soreness that spreads to the shoulder, arm, again, neck, jaw, enamel or occasionally higher abdomen
  • Nausea, indigestion, heartburn or belly discomfort
  • Shortness of breath
  • Lightheadedness, dizziness, fainting
  • Sweating

In women of all ages, chest discomfort is not often intense or even the most noticeable symptom. Women of all ages are inclined to have far more-imprecise indicators, these kinds of as nausea or again or jaw discomfort, which may possibly be far more powerful than the chest discomfort.

If you or a person else may possibly be possessing a coronary heart assault, follow these very first-help steps:

  • Get in touch with 911 or crisis healthcare assistance. You should not overlook the indicators of a coronary heart assault. If you are not able to get an ambulance or crisis automobile to arrive to you, have a neighbor or a close friend generate you to the closest healthcare facility. Push on your own only if you have no other possibility. For the reason that your condition can worsen, driving on your own places you and other people at chance.
  • Chew aspirin. Aspirin is a blood thinner. It stops clotting and keeps blood flowing by means of a narrowed artery that is caused a coronary heart assault. You should not choose aspirin if you have chest discomfort thanks to an injury. Also, never choose aspirin if you are allergic to aspirin, have bleeding challenges or choose a further blood-thinning treatment, or if your medical professional previously told you not to do so.
  • Take nitroglycerin, if prescribed. If you feel you might be possessing a coronary heart assault and your medical professional has previously prescribed nitroglycerin for you, choose it as directed. You should not choose any individual else’s nitroglycerin.
  • Start out CPR on the human being possessing a coronary heart assault. The American Heart Association suggests beginning hands-only CPR. Drive hard and quickly on the person’s chest for a hundred to one hundred twenty compressions a moment.
  • If an automated external defibrillator (AED) is instantly available and the human being is unconscious, follow the system directions for making use of it.


Angina is chest discomfort or soreness caused by reduced blood movement to your coronary heart muscle. It really is reasonably widespread, but it can be hard to explain to the difference from other kinds of chest discomfort, these kinds of as indigestion.

Angina can be secure or unstable.

  • Secure angina is chest discomfort that usually takes place with exercise and is reasonably predictable. The chest discomfort tends to follow a pattern. In other terms, there’s been no improve in how usually you get the chest discomfort and how very long it lasts.
  • Unstable angina is chest discomfort that is unexpected or new or adjustments from the common pattern. It may possibly be a indication of a upcoming coronary heart assault.

If your angina gets worse or adjustments, look for crisis healthcare assistance instantly.

Pulmonary embolism

Pulmonary embolism is a blood clot in the lung. It takes place when a clot, usually in the leg or pelvis, breaks free of charge and gets stuck in a lung artery (pulmonary artery). The clot interrupts blood movement, building it far more tough for your lungs to supply oxygen to the rest of your physique.

Symptoms and indicators of pulmonary embolism may possibly contain:

  • Unexpected, sharp chest discomfort usually with shortness of breath
  • Unexpected, unexplained shortness of breath, even with no discomfort
  • Cough that may possibly develop blood-streaked spit
  • Speedy heartbeat with shortness of breath
  • Fainting
  • Significant nervousness
  • Unexplained perspiring
  • Inflammation of a single leg only, caused by a blood clot in the leg

Pulmonary embolism can be lifetime-threatening. If you have indicators of a pulmonary embolism, look for crisis healthcare assistance instantly.

Aortic dissection

An aortic dissection is a tear in the interior layer of the aorta, the significant blood vessel branching off the coronary heart. Blood rushes by means of this tear into the middle layer of the aorta, creating the interior and middle layers to independent (dissect). Aortic dissection is a lifetime-threatening condition that requires crisis healthcare therapy.

Standard signs and indicators contain:

  • Unexpected intense chest or higher again discomfort, usually described as a tearing, ripping or shearing sensation, that radiates to the neck or down the again
  • Reduction of consciousness (fainting)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Unexpected issues talking, decline of vision, weakness or paralysis of a single facet of your physique, these kinds of as possessing a stroke
  • Large perspiring
  • Weak pulse in a single arm as opposed with the other

If you are possessing any of these signs or indicators, they could be caused by an aortic dissection or a further really serious condition. Look for crisis healthcare assistance instantly.

Pneumonia with pleurisy

Regular signs and indicators of pneumonia are chest discomfort accompanied by chills, fever and a cough that may possibly develop bloody or foul-smelling sputum. Pleurisy is swelling of the membranes that encompass the lung (pleura). It can bring about chest discomfort when taking a breath or coughing.

In contrast to a correct coronary heart assault, pleurisy discomfort is usually relieved quickly by holding your breath or placing strain on the painful area of your chest.

If you’ve lately been identified with pneumonia and then start out possessing indicators of pleurisy, contact your medical professional or look for speedy healthcare consideration to decide the bring about of your chest discomfort. Pleurisy on your own is just not a healthcare crisis, but you shouldn’t try to make the prognosis on your own.


Pericarditis is inflammation and irritation of the slender, saclike tissue encompassing your coronary heart (pericardium). Pericarditis can bring about sharp chest discomfort that gets worse when you cough, lie down or choose a deep breath.

Pericarditis is usually delicate and goes away with no therapy. If it is intense, you may possibly need treatment or, almost never, surgical procedure.

It may possibly be tough to explain to the difference among unexpected (acute) pericarditis and discomfort thanks to a coronary heart assault. If you have unexpected, unexplained chest discomfort, look for crisis healthcare assistance.

Upper body wall discomfort

Upper body wall discomfort is a kind of muscle discomfort. Bruised chest muscular tissues — from too much coughing, straining or slight injury can bring about harmless chest discomfort.

A person kind of chest wall discomfort is costochondritis. Costochondritis results in discomfort and tenderness in and all over the cartilage that connects your ribs to your breastbone (sternum).

If you have costochondritis, pressing on a couple of details along the edge of your breastbone usually triggers sizeable tenderness. If carefully touching the area with your fingers results in chest discomfort, it is not likely that a really serious condition, these kinds of as a coronary heart assault, is the bring about of your chest discomfort.

When to see a medical professional

Upper body discomfort is a widespread purpose that men and women look for healthcare therapy. Anxiousness, indigestion, an infection, muscle strain, and coronary heart or lung challenges can all bring about chest discomfort.

If your chest discomfort is new, modifying or usually unexplained, look for assistance from a medical professional. If you feel you might be possessing a coronary heart assault, simply call 911 or your area crisis number. You should not try to diagnose the chest discomfort on your own or overlook it. Your therapy will depend on the distinct bring about of the discomfort.