What is chest pain?

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Chest pain is defined as the presence of abnormal pain or discomfort in the chest, between the diaphragm and the base of the neck. It is one of the most frequent reasons for consulting in the Emergency Department, representing from 5-20% of medical emergency consultations. It generally originates in one of the organs of the chest cavity (heart, lung, or oesophagus), or in any of the components of the chest wall (skin, muscles, bones). Occasionally, organs near the chest, such as the gallbladder or the stomach, can cause chest pain. 

Its importance lies in that many diseases can present as chest pain, the majority of which have no significance, but others are potentially serious and can be life-threatening. 

In this sense, the emergency professionals must rapidly identify those serious illnesses in order to act as soon as possible. 

Among all these, are highlighted, by their higher frequency, the heart diseases, and in particular, the one called acute coronary syndrome, among which is found acute myocardial infarction, in which the chest pain occurs as a result of an obstruction of the arteries of the heart, or the coronary arteries. 

Substantiated information by:

Beatriz López Barbeito
Emilia Vázquez Manjon

Published: 20 February 2018
Updated: 20 February 2018


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