Heart Disease Expert Forum
Pain in Heart Area
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Pain in Heart Area

  I am a 35 year old male, 6'2", 175lbs, non-smoker, normal blood pressure, no family history of heart problems.  5 years ago I began experiencing sharp pains that tended to last for a few seconds continuously, with pain rising and falling with the heart beat.  The pains were on the left side of my chest, always immediately in the heart, though at different exact points at different times around the heart.  These pains would occur every few seconds to every few minutes, in episodes lasting 20 or thirty minutes, with episodes occurring every few hours to every few days.  The pains occur while at rest, or normal activity, and while lying flat in bed or briefly at the start of exercise.  The pains became very severe 5 years ago, in an episode lasting up to a minute one day while sitting at my desk.  EKG and stress test at the time showed all normal.  At the time I was a moderate jogger.  The pains seemed to subside in the past few years, but have returned in the past six months.  While I no longer jog, I do moderate exercise.  An EKG and blood tests performed last week were all were normal.  The doctors concluded that I had no heart problems.  I experience no other symptoms commonly associated with heart trouble (i.e., shortness of breath, sweating, increased heart rate, etc.)  
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Dear Dave,
Once the heart is fully checked out with ecg, stress test, and echocardiogram, it
truly can be said that most likely it is not pain originating from the heart.  This does
not mean however that your chest discomfort should then be shrugged off, it does mean
that you are very very very unlikely to have any heart disease (heart attack.)
Other structures in or near the chest that are famous for causing chest pain are the
muscles, the esophagus, and the stomach.  An ulcer in the stomach, and reflux of
stomach acid into the esophagus can cause extreme chest pain.  Physicians usually check
this possiblility out (should the exam and history even suggest it) after the heart
is ruled out as a possibility.  See a general internist, and or family practice physician
to further investigate the chest pain.  Good Luck.
I hope you find this information useful.  Information provided in the heart forum is for general medical informational purposes only.  Only your physician can provide specific diagnosis and therapies.  
Please feel free to write back with additional questions.
If you would like to make an appointment at the Cleveland Clinic Heart Center, please call 1-800-CCF-CARE or inquire online by using the Heart Center website at www.ccf.org/heartcenter.  The Heart Center website contains a directory of the cardiology staff that can be used to select the physician best suited to address your problem.

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