Get your health question answered instantly from our pool of 18000+ doctors from over 80 specialties

124 Doctors Online
Doctor Image
Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

I will be looking into your question and guiding you through the process. Please write your question below.

Had lumpectomy. Feeling pain in ribs and shoulder. Took aspirin. Symptoms of heart attack?

Answered by
Dr. Stephen Christensen

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :1986

Answered : 212 Questions

Posted on Wed, 12 Dec 2012 in Heart Attack
Question: Just had a lumpectomy on my left breast 4 weeks ago...walked 2 miles for the first time ...came in had some vegetables and ice cold water...had extreme pain underneath my ribs radiating on my left side to shoulder...thought I was having a heart attack...almost went to the emergency room...took aspirins. That was last night...the pain underneath the ribs has just aching on left side and shoulder
Answered by Dr. Stephen Christensen 2 hours later
Thanks for writing to us
I'm sorry you're uncomfortable. Obviously, without an examination and a few more details about your recent surgery and medical history, it won't be possible to identify the cause of your symptoms. However, there are several thoughts that come to mind here:

Your breasts are supported by ligaments -- Cooper's ligaments -- that get stressed when the breast is jostled. If your lumpectomy was near a Cooper's ligament, exercising may have stirred up some residual inflammation that is now irritating the ligament and triggering your pain.

If you've been relatively sedentary since your surgery, you may have developed a blood clot in one of your legs. Walking may have broken a fragment from the clot, which could have entered your circulation, travelled back to your heart, and thence to your lung. This condition, called pulmonary embolism, is XXXXXXX

I presume your lumpectomy was performed to evaluate a breast mass that may have been cancerous. If the lump was malignant, there's a small chance your pain is due to cancer involving your chest wall.

Your pain began shortly after eating some vegetables and drinking cold water. An esophageal spasm could trigger the type of discomfort you described, and the pain might even persist for several hours after the initial spasm calms down, particularly if you have a bit of acid reflux in the bargain.

Finally, I see from your historical data that you're at an age where heart disease becomes an issue. Thus, it's possible your chest pain is due to ongoing angina (heart pain). Usually (but not always) angina gets worse with exertion and resolves or gets better with rest. In contrast, if certain movements -- stretching, reaching, or twisting -- aggravate your pain, or if pressing on your chest increases your pain, it's more likely due to something in your chest wall than it is your heart.
The bottom line here is this: since it isn't clear what's causing your pain, and since it's possible there's something serious going on, it would be prudent to see your doctor as soon as possible.
I'll be available to answer any additional questions you may have.
I hope that helps, and I hope you feel better soon.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Aparna Kohli
Follow up: Dr. Stephen Christensen 45 hours later
I went to the emergency room and the did a heart monitor, echo, lung X-ray and found all results clear. The sent me home to follow up with my local doctor for a stress test if needed.
The internist thought it might be esophageal and prescribed pantoprazolesod dr before meals. I just got up and have pain now in my chest bone and underneath my left breast. I'm using a heating pad and taking it easy.
My question is if it had been a blood would have been picked up by the lung X-ray right? And I plan to see a gastrologist for the esophageal spasm as well as refrain from exercise for a while right?
Answered by Dr. Stephen Christensen 1 hour later
A chest x-ray usually doesn't detect a pulmonary embolism, but the ER doctor probably ordered a blood test called a D-dimer that would have helped him/her decide if further investigation was needed. A chest CT and/or an ultrasound of your leg would have been done if the doc thought you had a blood clot.

I'd definitely recommend taking it easy until you feel better. And you're right: a gastroenterologist is the specialist you'd need to see to work up an esophageal problem. In the meantime, try alternating ice packs (15-20 minutes) with the heating pad (20-30 minutes).

Hope this helps. I will be available for further assistance if needed.

Good luck!

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Prasad

The User accepted the expert's answer

Share on
Question is related to
Diseases and Conditions ,   ,   ,   ,   ,   ,  
Medical Procedures
Lab Tests

Recent questions on  Chest pain

doctor1 MD

hi my daughter is 10 years old.she has urine infection since last two weeks .she feels burning while passing urine with blood.she also had puss cells 20-30.she had urine infection two months ago also.after recovery again same problem.what to do?now she is having chest pain.

doctor1 MD

I am writing about my 14 year old son, who has been ill repeatedly 4 times for the past 7 weeks. He s been on antibiotics all 4 times, struggles to recover until his antibiotics are nearly gone, finally feels better for a few days and then gets it again. We are wondering if it is valley fever. Can that come with congestion/sinus symptoms? He s been diagnosed with sinus infections each time, but develops not only significant congestion/sinus symtpoms, but also chest pain, horrible coughing, fatigue, sore throat, and is miserable. He has faithfully taken not only strong antibiotics, but prescription strength cough syrup/decongestant, Flonase nasal spray, Zyrtec once a day, and breathing treatments up to 4 times a day, along with vitamin C and lots of fluids. He is otherwise very healthy, but his doctor is concerned that perhaps it is not really sinus infections he has had. I cannot find on the internet where there is a connection between congestion/sinus symptoms and Valley Fever - curious about that as others have asked if he has been tested for it. We live in Phoenix. As a young child he had repeated ear infections, but 4 years ago at age 10 he had his tonsils and adenoids removed, tubes in his ears, and a major sinus surgery. He has been very healthy ever since until now. Any ideas? Thank you verey much!

doctor1 MD

I had a legion on my face and after a month it began to cause me chest pain that increased as the sore grew. I was concerned about the chest pain and its size so i went to a clinic. i thought it was a spider bite. he said it clearly wasn t so gave me an ointment for acne. he told me the sore had absolutely nothing to do with my chest pain. I took the ointment for 3 weeks and the chest pain and sore grew. By then i knew it was causing me pain the got more severe. I went to the hospital 3 weeks later and he also told my it wasn t causing chest pain. he gave me a antibiotic for infection and when i was a week into the bottle a pain ripped through my chest which didn t last just one second, but about 3 or 4. When it happened i thought i was having a heart attack. i went home and lanced it myself, which they didn t offer to do. it grew outward in a circle and was slightly smaller than a quarter. not far above the skin, it grew deep into my cheek. it took a week to fight the infection out. the pain subsided from a 8 and some intense 10 to about a 3 with occasional 10 stabbings. its comes and goes throughout the day. I didn t get blood test for the sore from either doctor. now the sore is gone but over the past 2 years ive been to the doctor for my chest pain and they have taken blood samples related to checking my heart. i havent told them about that infection because those first 2 doctors said the sore wasn t causing the pain, but how would they know since they never took a blood test. i know it caused the pain then and the aftermath now. Should i tell the heart doctor about the infection? Will he shrug me off like the other 2? and is it possible the infection is still there or gone but damaged something? what was the infection?

doctor1 MD

My name is Jennifer. I am a 41 year old female, 5 9 , 125 LB. Over the past 10 years I have had symptoms of arrhythmias , chest pain, breathing problems (inability to breath deeply), coughing and severe hoarseness usually coinciding with the other problems. It seems to be getting slowly worse as I get older. I sleep sitting up. If I lay down I risk waking up with significant chest pain, choking and arrhythmias. I tried to get a diagnosis in my 30 s but no one found the source of my problem before I lost my insurance and stopped pursuing it. I recently went to a chiropractor and had x-rays taken. There is significant compression and misalignment between C3 and C4. There is also some arthritic changes between these vertebrae. I used to break horses when I was in my early 20 s and at one point directly fell on my head and was knocked out. I assume that is what caused this particular injury. My question is could this injury be causing the arrhythmias, chest pain, breathing problems and hoarseness? I know you can t answer with certainty I am just curious if it is a possibility. Thank you for your time, Jennifer

doctor1 MD

getting pain in some parts of chest in random time any type of injections for D3 and B12 and dose for same as per reports

doctor1 MD

I started having symptoms about 7 weeks ago. Head congestion, then chest congestion, some fever, a cough, shortness of breath , and now pain in my chest under my left breast. (always after eating or drinking and random, when not, pain is worse...

doctor1 MD

i. I am 30 year old obese when I tried to laugh too hard had strange feeling in head for a second.later next day I laughed even harder this time felt like head was holding or dizzy kind of like passing out it stopped when I stoped laughing feeling...