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Pain on left side chest, below armpit. Muscle related? Psychosomatic pain? PVC benign in healthy heart?

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Cardiologist, Interventional
Practicing since : 1998
Answered : 411 Questions
Clarification as to pain on left side behind breast under arm
Hello Doctor,

Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions. To start my story off, I am a 34 year old female, slightly over weight but all in all good health. 8 months ago I had a full cardio work up due to palpitations... EKGs, Echo, 30 day monitor. Everything came back good (per the doc my echo was slightly dilated but well within normal limits) and I had single beat PVCs on my holter. Around the same time as my heart testing, my panic and anxiety came back full swing and I developed chest pain directly behind my left breast. It would come and go. My EP and cardio told me this pain was not heart related and basically that I am fine, to stay off stimulants and have a nice life. So, I began seeing a therapist and Psychiatrist who said many people can have psychosomatic pain. My general doc did all the test, Upper MRI (which found a slightly slipped disc in my neck) sonogram of my upper chest (to test gall bladder etc), chest xray and all came back normal as well. After awhile my "breast pain" slowed down and is more rare now.

Here is where my questions come in:

Over the past month or so I have been having pains to the left of my left breast, below my armpit. It is a throbbing pain, actually goes with my heart beat. Will last a few seconds then stop. May happen a few times or may only happen once in a few hours. Sometimes it can be relieved when I move positions and it seems to hurt a bit worse when I fully exhale. I notice it happens when I am sitting (not when standing) and more so when I am at the computer.

What do you think this could possibly be (most people I ask seem to think it is muscle / skeletal related)?

Also, in your opinion are PVCs truly benign in a healthy heart?

I guess the magic question for that, is, as a PVC sufferer am I more likely to develop VT or another harmful ryhthm then say a person who does not suffer from frequent PVCs?

Thank you again Doctor,
Posted Thu, 19 Apr 2012 in Hypertension and Heart Disease
Answered by Dr. Prabhakar C Koregol 48 minutes later

Answer to your first question is yes, it's most likely to be musculoskeletal, meaning pain originates in your muscles or bones and it's most likely to be related to some positional abnormality, I mean the way you sit or position your monitor key pad or mouse. Please get them corrected and your pain should go away.

If you are unable to recognize problem with posture take help of occupational therapist or advisor.

PVCs (Premature Ventricular Contractions) are of no major consequence in people with healthy hearts.

They don't predict any major arrhythmias.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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