Atypical Chest Pain
Atypical chest pain is a term used to describe discomfort or pain centered in the chest that is not cardiac pain, chest pain not heart related and not of burning quality. Cardiac or heart-related chest pain is less common in younger people and is often described as tightness, squeezing, or pressing that occurs behind or to the left of the middle of the sternum with radiating pain to the shoulder or jaw. It is usually worsened by activity or added stress. Because some acute heart events can present with atypical features not unlike cardiac pain, in older patients or those of high risk, the heart is evaluated first. If the evaluation is negative, providers then look for other possible causes of atypical chest pain. Individuals who have gastroesophageal reflux or esophageal motility problems can experience atypical chest discomfort. In addition, patients with increased visceral sensitivity within the esophagus commonly experience this symptom.