Pediatric Heart Expert Forum
precordial catch syndrome
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Questions in this forum are answered by pediatric cardiologists, cardiothoracic surgeons and anesthesiologists from The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. This forum is for questions and support about pediatric heart problems, symptoms and topics such as heart murmurs, palpitations, fainting, chest pain, congenital heart defects (including management and intervention), fetal cardiology, adult congenital cardiology, arrhythmias and pre-participation athletic screening.

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precordial catch syndrome

My 14 year old daughter has a history of precordial catch syndrome which has been more frequent during periods of growth. She hasn't had many incidents lately with the most recent being about a month ago.  Most of these incidents have been while at rest or simple activity.  Last week she had an episode 1 hour into her 2 hour moderately intense swim practice, with sharp, localized left side pain under her left breast and near the left sternal border.  It lasted about 2 miutes with no other symptoms except pain with deep breathing.  Because this happened with exercise we took her to be checked out immediately.  Her vitals were all normal, her lungs were normal and her EKG was normal and a previous EKG was normal and a previous echo showed no structual abnormalities.  We left with a diagnosis of precordial catch syndrome, which we were told can occur with exercise. She had no problems during practice the next day.  The following day she had another very similar episode 1 hour and 40 minutes into practice.  She got out of the water, stretched and breathed deeply until the pain subsided, about 2 minutes later, and she finished the last 20 minutes of practice without pain.  We are comfortable with the diagnosis of precordial catch syndrome but we are concerned that this happens during exercise. She has a right thoracic scoliosis curve of 29 degrees with rotation and she is currently in a growth spurt.  Given the normal EKG and lack of any other symptoms, is this likely precordial catch syndrome or something muscloskeletal rather than cardiac in nature?
773637_tn?1327450515
Dear Spenjo,

We don't know exaxctly what causes precordial catch, also known as idiopathic chest wall pain.  It is quite common amongst adolescents.  It can occur with rest or with exercise, but does not indicate a cardiac problem.  It typically disappears by adulthood.  Scoliosis is not associated with it as a cause, either.  Without evaluating your daughter, I cannot say exactly what is going on with her, however.
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Jeffrey R Boris, M.D.Blank
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