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What causes radiating pain in chest and numbness radiating to left arm?

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Posted on Fri, 20 May 2016
Question: hi...ive had this pain that comes and go on the left side of my chest...sometimes i get a numb sensation going down my left arm and a mild pain in my back just behind my left chest. I've had this for months now. I've done lots of test and the doctors can't tell me what it is. I'm worried cause this are the symptoms from heart attack. i recently just did a Troponin I test and it seems high according to the results but can't see my dr until Wednesday and i am a bit concern.
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Answered by Dr. Olsi Taka (1 hour later)
Brief Answer:
Test is perfectly normal, troponin is not high.

Detailed Answer:
I read your question carefully and I understand your concern.

In terms of this being a heart attack your description doesn't really seem to correspond to that. A heart attack doesn't come and go for months, it is an acute event.
One might think of angina, but at your age it would be highly unlikely as well unless you have long standing risk factors (high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, high cholesterol etc). Also since you say to have had many tests I am sure EKG was among them.

As for the Troponin test .... now my knowledge of your native language is not good, but if "Hasil" means result and "Nilai rujukan" means reference range then that result is perfectly normal. The reference range is <0.6 ng/ml, which means that any value below that is normal. Your result is well below at <0.1, level is almost untraceable which would certainly exclude a heart attack in case my above argument was not enough.

I remain at your disposal for other questions.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Follow up: Dr. Olsi Taka (36 minutes later)
thanks for the detailed answer...it makes sense. i am actually spanish but live in indonesia. yes the meaning you got it spot on. from the risk factors that you mentioned i only smoke (under 1 pack a day) but have no high blood pressure or diabetes...my cholesterol is not high but borderline or at least it was back in December but i have taken some steps to corrected such as exercising more often and a more balance diet avoiding foods that could increase the bad cholesterol. 1 of the dr. suggested that could be acid reflux but yet even trying medication for this it doesn't go away and i don't really feel pain trough the middle section or feel acid taste in my throat. any ideas of what it could be ? is really frustrating not knowing. yes i did the EKG...treadmill test for the lungs that you have to blow into a machine etc...
doctor
Answered by Dr. Olsi Taka (19 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
Read below.

Detailed Answer:
Thank you for the update.

I understand your frustration, but you should be heartened by the fact that the results come back normal. I really do not think it to be a heart or lung issue, neither by your symptoms nor by your age or those normal tests.

One possibility to be considered would be a spinal column issues, possibly leading at compression of nerve roots or muscle spasms leading to your symptoms. So a neurological visit to check for reflexes (normal or abnormal ones), muscle strength, sensitivity changes is the first step and if there is any indication of that being the cause a cervico-thoracic MRI to check for spinal cord and vertebral changes can be scheduled. However I do not consider it that likely to be honest, mainly suggesting it as the one remaining possibility to connect such symptoms if there are degenerative changes at several levels.

The other possibility would be anxiety which is a common mimick of other medical conditions and it is not rare for it to manifest with left sided numbness sensation or other neurological symptoms. Anxiety is a diagnosis of exclusion though, so first the neurological visit (if not already done) is necessary.

I hope to have been of help.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Dr. Olsi Taka

Neurologist

Practicing since :2004

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What causes radiating pain in chest and numbness radiating to left arm?

Brief Answer: Test is perfectly normal, troponin is not high. Detailed Answer: I read your question carefully and I understand your concern. In terms of this being a heart attack your description doesn't really seem to correspond to that. A heart attack doesn't come and go for months, it is an acute event. One might think of angina, but at your age it would be highly unlikely as well unless you have long standing risk factors (high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, high cholesterol etc). Also since you say to have had many tests I am sure EKG was among them. As for the Troponin test .... now my knowledge of your native language is not good, but if "Hasil" means result and "Nilai rujukan" means reference range then that result is perfectly normal. The reference range is <0.6 ng/ml, which means that any value below that is normal. Your result is well below at <0.1, level is almost untraceable which would certainly exclude a heart attack in case my above argument was not enough. I remain at your disposal for other questions.