Chest Pain in Adults: Emergency Room Tips
Chest pain is any tenderness experienced in your chest. The pain may be a sign of other severe disorders and is, in general, considered a medical emergency.
Chest pain can be heart-related such as a heart attack or a pulmonary embolism; and it could also be non-heart related such as indigestion, stress or lung issues.
Understanding Chest Pains
Finding the cause of your chest pain can be thought-provoking, especially if you’ve never had it before.
The specific cause of the chest pain can be challenging to interpret. However, emergency doctors at FrontLine ER can determine the cause of this pain by reviewing the patient’s medical history, or by conducting a physical exam, among many other varied medical tests.
Chest pain can present itself in many forms based on a person’s age, sex, and previous medical conditions.
If you have unexplained chest pain that lasts more than a few minutes, seek emergency medical care at FrontLine ER at once, rather than trying to diagnose the cause yourself. Some of the leading causes of the pain may include of the following:
A heart attack occurs when the artery that delivers oxygen to your heart muscle becomes blocked. The attack may be silent without any signs or symptoms, or it may cause chest pain that lasts a few minutes or longer. The chest pains can start when you’re physically active or when resting.
Angina is chest pain caused by reduced blood flow to your heart muscle. Stable angina is a recurrent chest pain that is relatively forceful and predictable. Unstable angina happens when the chest pain is quick, new or varies from the typical pattern.
When a clot from the veins in your leg or pelvis gets into the pulmonary artery of your lung, pulmonary embolism occurs. The artery that serves the lung tissues is somehow blocked and doesn’t get enough blood flow. It becomes difficult for the lungs to supply oxygen to the rest of your body thus causing problems with blood oxygenation.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
When stomach contents move back into the throat, acid reflux occurs. This condition may be triggered by obesity, smoking, or by eating spicy and fatty foods that cause a sour taste in the mouth. Chest pain from acid reflux actualizes because the heart and esophagus share a nerve network and are closely located to each other.
Pneumonia with Pleurisy
The most prevalent symptoms of pneumonia are chest pain accompanied by fever and a cough that produces a bloody or smelly sputum. When the membranes that surround the lung are inflamed, a person may experience substantial chest discomfort when breathing or coughing. The condition is known as pleurisy.
Chest Wall Pain
Costochondritis is a kind of chest wall pain that causes pain and tenderness in and around the tendon that links your ribs to your breastbone. Pressing on a few points along the edge of your breastbone often results in sizeable sensitivity in those areas.
When to See the Doctor for Chest Pain
In case the pain is not relieved by anti-inflammatory medications or if it comes on suddenly, Call 911 or rush to the nearby FrontLine ER.
When in doubt about any chest pain, be sure to call your doctor immediately. Also, contact the doctor if you start to experience any of the following symptoms:
- An abrupt feeling of tightness, pressure, or squeezing under your breastbone
- Severe chest pain that spreads to your left arm, back, and jaw
- Sharp chest pain accompanied by shortness of breath
- Nausea, light-headedness and excessive sweating
- Very low or rapid heart rate
- Fever chills or coughing up yellow-green mucus
- Difficulty swallowing food
Managing Chest Pain in Adults
Treatment of chest pain differs with the primary cause of the pain and the stage of care.
- Prehospital Care
Chest pain is a common medical condition handled by the professionals at FrontLine ER. Emergency dispatchers administer aspirin to people with no severe recent bleeding; because it increases chances of survival in people who have acute coronary syndrome.
Supplemental oxygen can also be used to ease chest pain. However, it is not necessary unless the oxygen capacities have gone down drastically or there are signs of respiratory distress.
- Emergency Room Care
Upon arrival at FrontLine ER, the emergency doctors begin with an initial assessment of a person’s vital signs, breathing capabilities, and level of cognizance.
Depending on the results obtained from the initial evaluation, the doctors can attach intravenous lines, ECG leads, cardiac monitors, and other medical devices on the patient.
When all information on a patient’s history, physical examination, risk factors, laboratory tests, and imaging are available, treatment can now commence.
A person may be treated and discharged as an outpatient or admitted to the hospital. However, for more severe cases of cardiac chest pain or acute coronary syndrome, pneumothorax or pulmonary embolism, patient admission in the intensive care unit is necessary.
Chest pain is a common complaint directly linked to a high rate of mortality. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, chest pain leads to about 6 million visits to EDs in the United States. Timely diagnosis can save lives. Go for regular checkups to make sure that the symptoms are identified and treated early.