Find out what you should do if you have chest pain but “all the tests” are normal.
Many people have chest pain but the cardiac tests come back normal. Chest pain is the No. 1 reason for emergency room visits.
Most of these patients are told that their chest pain is not related to their heart.
“The etiology for chest pain is not always the heart, but it is so important to be sure it is not the heart!” says Dawn Kershner, DO, a cardiologist at MedStar Union Memorial Hospital, Baltimore, MD.
Dr. Kershner continues, “Chest pain can be caused by numerous GI problems, musculoskeletal — like a pulled or inflamed muscle/joint — pulmonary embolus,” which is a blood clot in the lung that can kill within minutes.
“As a cardiologist, I make sure the chest pain is not cardiac and then start looking for the non-cardiac cause.”
Do not delay; if you are having chest pain, you do have a choice: Sit or lie there wondering if it’s your heart preparing for an attack, or — you can head to the emergency room to get it checked out.
If the incident passes and you’re still alive, do not assume it’s nothing to worry about. Make an appointment with a cardiologist and get tests done.
Now what if all the tests are normal?
This includes blood tests, EKG, echocardiogram, Holter monitor and “stress test.” A stress test can be via exercise or chemical.
After these normal test results, you continue having chest pain, and also other symptoms (e.g., sweating, nausea, jaw pain, back pain, labored breathing) that have been well-documented as being part of many heart attacks or signs of severe coronary blockage.
Ask your doctor about a CT angiogram.
A CT angiogram is non-invasive and will show if you have blockages in your coronary arteries.
Board certified in internal medicine/cardiovascular disease, Dr. Kershner treats abnormal EKG and abnormal stress test among many other cardiac conditions.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.