Chest pain, also called angina, is a feeling of tightness, pressure, or
general discomfort in your chest that occurs when the heart doesn’t
receive sufficient oxygen. This feeling of pain is not a disease or disorder
itself, but a symptom associated with a number of heart and vascular conditions.
While some patients experience chronic angina due to a known heart condition,
chest pain with no prior history could be a symptom of a heart attack—if
you experience chest pain without a clear cause, it’s vital to
visit your local emergency care center for an evaluation immediately.
Chest Pain and Heart Attack
Chest pain is a common, but not necessary, symptom of a heart attack. This
is because during a heart attack, the flow of blood to the heart is blocked,
which also starves the heart of oxygen and frequently causes pain. Many
heart attack patients describe their angina as persistent pain, pressure,
squeezing, or even a feeling of fullness in the center of the chest. If
you experience sudden unexplained chest pain, call 911 for transportation
to the ER right away.
Chest Pain and Other Vascular Conditions
Although chest pain is most often associated with a heart attack in media
and movies, there are many other potential causes for this condition as
well. A few of these causes are serious, such as a pulmonary embolism
or aortic dissection, which both require emergency care as well. While
other causes of angina are less immediately life-threatening, they still
signal the need for ongoing heart care. These causes include heart and
vascular disorders such as coronary heart disease,
coronary microvascular disease, and ischemia.
Chest pain is a sign that your heart is not receiving the oxygen it needs
to function effectively and that targeted care is needed.
Palms West Hospital is proud to be an Accredited Chest Pain Center; our hospital and ER in
Loxahatchee, FL, specializes in emergency and critical care for heart
and vascular disease. You can find out more about our cardiac services
on the web, or by calling (561) 345-7009.