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Avatar universal

Not feeling relieved by doctor's dismissal of condition

A few days ago, I experienced an alarming chest pain that lasted just a brief moment. It was on the left side of my chest and felt sort of like a combination of tearing, popping, or grinding. This happened while I was changing my posture, but I'm not sure if that's a coincidence or not. I went online to see what it could be and ended up giving myself a panic attack when I read about something called an Aortic Dissection. At least, I believe it was the panic attack that led to about 3 minutes of lightheadedness, cold chills, and shaking, and not the incident itself, because these symptoms came pretty much immediately after I had read the bit about Aortic Dissection rather than after the pain itself.

The next day, I took work off and went to the hospital walk-in clinic to get checked out. At this point, I had slept very badly during the night due to worrying. However, I had no residual pain. They took my blood pressure (normal), EKG (normal), and the doctor compared my pulse in both wrists (they were the same). The doctor then asked me about some recent things that may have been relevant. I had helped my brother move heavy logs a couple days before, and I am badly out of shape (not overweight, but very weak muscles). I also was trying to push a log into the back of a truck and I hit the end of it against my chest enough to scratch it a bit (but no bruising).

The doctor said a couple things in making her diagnosis. She said that if I had had an aortic dissection, "we would not be here having this conversation". She said that it was a very good sign that the pulse in both wrists were the same. She said that the pain would have lasted much longer than 1/4 second. Also, it is rare to get this at my age (36). She determined that I had most likely strained some tendons or ligaments in my chest helping to move the logs (although I don't know why it would have taken 2 days to suddenly have that kind of pain).

Since coming home from the hospital that day (Tuesday), a few things have changed. I have developed a sensation of bloating in my mid-section, either around my solarplexus or somewhat down and to the left of there. Occasionally there is some mild pain in my left chest that comes and goes. I did have one incident this afternoon that felt like heartburn for about 5 minutes. It feels like my stomach is full most of the time even when it's time to eat (I have not skipped any meals, though). My energy level is still very low compared to before the pain, and my arms feel especially weak. There have been a couple times that I have gotten a cough that felt like it was centered on the same area I had the heart-burn.

I just want to know, is there a point where I should question the original diagnosis and go back?
Best Answer
Avatar universal
At this point, if you are seriously worried, you can certainly get a second or even a third opinion--but if you get the same diagnosis each time, then it is very likely to be a good, solid diagnosis.

Frankly, your symptoms do not sound at all like aortic dissection.  That is a serious condition.  People who are experiencing it are faint, nauseous, and in horrible, unrelieved pain until they either get emergency medical care--or die (which they tend to do very soon, sometimes in spite of emergency treatment).  

Dissection is a true medical emergency, and untreated patients do not get better, walk around, and do their usual routine.
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Avatar universal
No, I don't think you should question her diagnosis. Go, see a gastroenterologist.
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Avatar universal
Yeah, I know I am just a huge worry-wort about these kinds of things. Thanks for the responses.
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144586 tn?1284666164
Sounds as if the diagnosis was on-the-money. There is always a one-in-a-million chance this is not so, but I would rest easy and not worry. This is not an aortic disection.
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
So I was just sitting here at my desk and I had a pain again. Not as strong as the last time, but still pretty painful, and it felt a little bit different. This one felt more like a squeezing pain. It also felt like it went through to my back. I did not do any kind of motion to trigger this. It did not travel to anywhere else.

Last night I was absolutely exhausted very early even though I didn't do anything other than go to work for the day. I pretty much collapsed in fatigue at around 9:00pm, but it was like a muscular tiredness rather than head tiredness, so I couldn't fall asleep, and my abdomen still had a bloated feeling that made it uncomfortable no matter which way I lay down.

So... should I go back and get it looked at again? I'm not going to try and argue that it's the aortic dissection. I agree that that's very unlikely. But could it be something else serious besides that? I was literally about to go hiking with a heavy load on, but I'm wondering if it might be really unwise to go do something that will work my heart harder until I get this looked at again.
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Avatar universal
It sounds like a gut issue to me.  Bloating plus pain radiating to the back can suggest problems related to the pancreas (and possibly the gall bladder).

You might google something like 'left quadrant abdominal pain.'   youtube has a good video titled "Differential diagnosis of abdominal pain according to abdominal regions.'
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