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What causes recurring tightness, pain, swelling on the left side of chest?

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Posted on Sat, 26 Jul 2014
Question: I have, for the past three years, suffered with reoccurring tightness, pain, swelling feeling on the left side of my chest. It started out three years ago as a sharp pain, like a knife in my heart and then radiated to my jaw, down my left arm and behind my shoulder blade. Well, when this would happen, I thought I was having a heart attack and my blood pressure would go off the charts. I went to an insta-care during one of these attacks and was sent to the hospital. I was checked out and told my heart was fine. I was later put through all kinds of heart tests. It was determined I had chest wall inflammation. Once I knew it was not my heart The symptoms calmed down. It was like it was also stress related. A year later it started up again. I changed doctors and the new doctor insisted I go through the heart test again. Nothing was found. December of last year I was diagnosed with breast cancer in my left breast with pre-cancer in my right. I under went a double mastectomy. Well, I am now dealing with the chest problems again. It is not as painful now, but the tight feeling with uncomfortable heat on my chest radiating from my chest to my jaw. I am now worried about my heart. You know a little anxiety. Do you think it is my heart or costochrondites?
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Answered by Dr. Anantharamakrishnan (1 hour later)
Brief Answer:
Go for tests to reassure...

Detailed Answer:
Dear friend,
Welcome to Health Care Magic

As you have cleverly summarised, this could well be Costochondritis and Anxiety
Anxiety causes pain – pain causes Anxiety – a vicious cycle sets in…

However, at this age, the wise option is to have stress imaging - like stress ECHO or Treadmill exercise ECG, may be with thallium isotope) – to exclude Coronary Artery Disease…
Rather to rule out and reassure… / - treated if a problem is found / Happy, if it turns out otherwise
ECHO is non-invasive / and can be repeated in 6 months to one year…

Take care
Good luck
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Prasad
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Follow up: Dr. Anantharamakrishnan (9 hours later)
I had an ECHO with treadmill ECG twice last year, prior to my breast surgery.

What was your inference " cleverly summarized ".. I wasn't trying to be clever and I sense in this response a somewhat sarcastic attitude.

I was hoping for more questions. Like when exactly do I have the attacks and how long so they last and are they all the same..

Actually, what do I expect for 18.00? I, should have known better. I was just looking for some reassurance it wasn't my heart. And really how can you correctly and honestly answer this question.

Thanks, but you do not need to respond.



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Dr. Anantharamakrishnan

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Practicing since :1966

Answered : 4505 Questions

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What causes recurring tightness, pain, swelling on the left side of chest?

Brief Answer: Go for tests to reassure... Detailed Answer: Dear friend, Welcome to Health Care Magic As you have cleverly summarised, this could well be Costochondritis and Anxiety Anxiety causes pain – pain causes Anxiety – a vicious cycle sets in… However, at this age, the wise option is to have stress imaging - like stress ECHO or Treadmill exercise ECG, may be with thallium isotope) – to exclude Coronary Artery Disease… Rather to rule out and reassure… / - treated if a problem is found / Happy, if it turns out otherwise ECHO is non-invasive / and can be repeated in 6 months to one year… Take care Good luck