Chest pains...


Well-Known Member
my 16yo has been complaining of chest pains. For the past two years she would have occasional chest pains, that came on without any reason. NOt on exertion, Not during anxiety (which she has). Usually at night, in bed, or eve on with friends. She said they would usually go away in a minute or two. 10 days ago, we were away from home, she spent the night with a friend, while we stayed in a hotel. She tested me during the night that the pains had been going on for 1.5 hrs, it hurt very bad to take a deep breath. Unfortunately, I had my phone turned off that night. The next day she said she felt fine.

This morning, while getting ready for school, she had the sharp pains again. This time it lasted about 40 minutes. I had an appointment at the clinic, so she agreed to go with she didn't want to go to school yet with it hurting, and I didn't want to leave her home alone. I had her take a low dose aspirin.

They did an ekg, blood work and chest X-ray. All normal. By the time all the tests started, the pains had stopped. Family history...her dad had a sudden cardiac arrest two years ago. Had CPR for 8 minutes, then was shocked to get his heart back in rhythm. In ICU for several days and had a defib device implanted. They also found no defects to have caused it. No drugs in system, no damage or genetic defects found. So of course, that history worries me. Also my dad had heart pains and would stop and hold his hands over his heart like daughter was doing.

So...They are giving us a referral to a pediatric cardiologist in another town. Any clues? Could this all be psychosomatic? I am afraid they will see the scars on her arm from past cutting and not take this serious. That she is just seeking attention.

I guess if this just happened during times when she is emotional upset, or facing very stressful situations, I could understand it. So we will follow thru with the referral... But has other parents dealt with this??



100% better than I was but not at 100% yet
Mof I thought of heartburn or indigestion also, even gas that seems like it's in the chest could just be high in the abdomen.

Growing pains? Pulled muscle?

It's good that you got everything checked out. I don't know what else it could be.

Keep us posted.


Crazy Cat Lady
Could be costochondritis, which is an inflammation of the soft tissues and cartilage around the ribcage. It can be very painful and can mimic a heart attack depending on what nerves are involved.

I've had it for many years, and even with that experience, I wound up in the hospital several years ago because it flared up in the left upperchest and involved the nerves that ran up my neck to my jaw. Took a huge panic in the ER and 3 days of rather unpleasant tests, and nasty food (a hospital version of a cardiac/diabetic diet is disgusting).

I finally realized that it was the costochondritis when the right side flared up in concert and it was the exact same pain and pattern.

Have her checked by a doctor for this as not only is it bloody painful, it is also associated with various connective tissue disorders.


Can heartburn be that painful? It does seem like it would be worse at night?
Yes, heartburn can be that painful. I worked in an ER and we would have patients come in thinking they were having a heart attack and it would be severe heartburn. That may not be what she is having tho. It's worth getting checked out for sure.


Well-Known Member
She isn't really short of just hurts more to take a deeper breath or a normal breath. When I have had heartburn it usually felt like heartburn... Or acid reflux... Or a taste associated with it... She isn't having those symptoms...

Confusing. She is on no medications...

I don't feel like this is an emergency...but very weird...



Crazy Cat Lady
Sounds like it could be costochondritis. Does she have pain on pressure along where the ribs join the breastbone? Especially the lower ribs which are cartilage for a bit before they join the breastbone.

There is also a similar condition in which the tissues lining the sternum become inflamed. Another one is pleurisy, which can be caused by connective tissue disorders, but sufferers of that are usually (very) aware of a creaking or rubbing sensation, which is the tissue surrounding the lungs rubbing against the tissue lining the chest cavity.

I'd get her seen by a doctor asap. Not because I think she's deathly ill, but because the issues she is experiencing could be signs of more serious illnesses that should be gotten on top of right away.


Well-Known Member
certainly have it checked out. in the end, it could be heartburn and anxiety caused by hyperventalation. But I was always a mom who checked everything out. You are certainly doing the right thing.


Roll With It
It could be a lot of things. I had what you describe as a kid and it was from an ulcer. The nerves to the stomach are registered as being in the area of the heart when the brain interprets it. You can have ehr take the over the counter omeprazole or lansoprozole for 2-3 weeks (one a day, as directed on the box) and it can help you figure out if it is a stomach issue. Get her checked out for heart issues also, but the medications above are generally with-o side effects and are helpful in a HUGE way if it is heartburn.

I also have costo and it is incredibly painful. It is much like she describes and there is little that can be done about it. But getting her checked thoroughly is always safest. ALWAYS.


Well-Known Member
Staff member
6 Questions to Ask When Your Child Complains of Chest Pain
JULY 16, 2014
I see this scenario quite frequently in cardiology clinic. Generally speaking, about a quarter of my new patient visits complain of the following set of symptoms at their appointment: chest pain lasting for several months, maybe 2-4 times a week, for less than 10-20 seconds at a time, at a moderate intensity, sometimes with activity, but more often not. And the child just recently told his or her parents about it.

Understandably, the parents are worried.

But the good news is that while it’s pretty common for children to say that their chest hurts or even that their “heart hurts,” it’s rarely caused by heart disease.

Most kids will complain of chest pain sometime between age 7 and their teenage years, but thankfully, it will be caused by an underlying heart condition in less than 1% of them. More frequently it is related to a viral illness, stress, or most commonly, musculoskeletal pain.

It is my hope that this information will give parents a little peace of mind: the pain manifesting in your child’s chest is rarely caused by heart disease. But I also understand how concerning it can be for parents, and sometimes further investigation may be necessary to narrow down the cause. So where should parents start?

I suggest answering the following questions:

  1. Has my child been sick recently?
    One of the more common causes of chest pain in children is from costochondritis. This is a condition characterized by inflammation in the joint between the breastbone and the ribs, typically caused by a viral illness or frequent coughing. Costochondritis is not concerning, but in some cases it can be long lasting and your child may need a prescription anti-inflammatory to get rid of it.
  2. Was my child injured recently?
    If your child was hit in the chest during a sporting event or even a fall, this could be a more obvious cause of the chest pain. However, even heavy lifting, frequent coughing, or intense aerobic exercise can strain the rib muscles and cause chest pain. You’ll want to contact your pediatrician if the pain is severe, persistent, or associated with difficulty breathing.
  3. Is my child stressed?
    While it might be difficult to imagine a 7-year-old being stressed, school pressures and the loss of a loved one, for example, can all contribute to feelings of stress. What may be even more surprising is that stress can cause chest pain. While chest pain caused by stress is harmless – it’s really no different than a stress-related headache – the duration of the pain is understandably worrisome for parents.
  4. When does it hurt?
    Does it hurt when your child is sitting down, or only when he or she is active? Chest pain from non-cardiac causes usually happens both when a child is at rest and when they are active. My first question is often whether the pain occurs during gym class or while watching TV. Chest pain that only happens with or immediately following moderate to vigorous activity, such as while running and playing competitive sports, is a different matter which does warrant further medical investigation.
  5. How long has it been hurting?
    Has it been going on for months or even years? If yes, then it is almost certainly not caused by heart disease. Chest pain caused by cardiac disease is either so severe that no child could cover it up or ignore it, or it is progressive and associated with other problems such as passing out or worsening fatigue, that it would be highly unusual for the symptoms to continue over several months. However, non-cardiac chest pain is the very opposite; it can often by ignored, is not associated with other concerns, and often just lingers in the background.
  6. How painful is it? Mild-to-moderate or severe?
    Typically mild-to-moderate chest pain is not related to the heart, and isn’t a cause for concern. However, the more concerning chest pain is when the pain is sudden and severe. Typically it will hurt so bad that your child will not want to go to school and will look like he or she is struggling with the pain. This kind of pain is most often caused by pericarditis, which is an inflammatory condition of the heart. Thankfully, pericarditis is very rare. But what’s interesting about it is that it’s the most common reason that a child’s chest pain is related to the heart. If your child has sudden onset of severe chest pain that is continuous and often occurs around the same time of an illness – contact your child’s pediatrician that same day.
The vast majority of the time, chest pain in children is not related to the heart. While there is no single medical history question or medical test that can determine the source of chest pain, hopefully the six questions discussed above can help parents and teens narrow down what’s potentially worrisome and what’s not. If you have any concerns at all, schedule an appointment with your pediatrician, and have your answers to the above questions ready. They will help steer your pediatrician in the right direction.

Editor’s note: For more frequent heart and health-related thoughts, follow Dr. Madsen on twitter: @MadsenNicolas


Well-Known Member
We saw the pediatric oncologist yesterday, they did a couple more tests of her heart and do not think this is a heart problem. They suggested that when she has another episode to take ibuprofen on a regular basis for five days and see if that makes them less frequent. They believe there may be some inflammation of chest wall muscles that might be causing the pain. But they said that mechanically her heart is fine.

If things continue or become more frequent, they can send us home with a small device about the size of a cell phone. If she has chest pains, she holds the device over her heart and it will record the event. The. You use a telephone to transmit the i do to their office for reviews. You keep the device for one month. It isn't something you wear like the old halter monitors.

But, even the cardiologist is baffled by her dads sudden cardiac arrest over two years ago. He now has an Implanted defibrillator in case his hear goes I. To v-fib rhythm. The last time he saw a cardiologist for follow up, there had been some abnormal rhythms, but not enough that he was aware of it, or that the device had to activate itself.



Active Member
i suffer from esophageal reflux and can tell you the pain can be scary at times. It mostly happens when i am in bed and yes can mimic chest pains like a cardiac episode. I started taking omeprazol daily and it has helped dramatically. the ENT dr. was the one who found it by doing a scope in his office...might be worth checking it out. X-ray and blood work never showed it.