Chest Pain in Children

Chest Pain in Children

Chest pain has a variety of sources, and essentially any structure in the chest can cause pain. This includes the lungs, the ribs, the chest wall muscles, the diaphragm, and the joints between the ribs and breastbone.

Injury, infection or irritation to any of these tissues can be accountable for chest pain.

Periodically, pain can be referred from another area (such as the abdomen).

Chest pain might also be a symptom of stress or anxiety.

Hardly ever, the heart is the source of chest pain in children.

Chest pain might be a symptom of a major underlying disease. Luckily, a lot of chest pain in children is brought on by benign or self-limited diseases. Noted listed below are some common diseases that can cause chest pain.

Common Illnesses that Causes Chest Pain


Costochondritis happens secondary to swelling of the “joint” between the breastbone and the ribs. It is especially typical in adolescent and pre-adolescent women, but can happen in anyone at any age.

Regularly brought on by viral health problem or by regular coughing, upper breathing symptoms often accompany this illness. It might last for several weeks.

There may be pain when breathing in or breathing out deeply, however true problem in breathing is rare and need to generate issue for other diagnoses.

The hallmark of costochondritis is tenderness to pressure over the costochondral joint, which represents the anxiety on the sides of the breastbone.

Treatment generally includes a one- to two-week course of an over the counter anti-inflammatory medicine such as ibuprofen.


Injury to the muscles and bones of the chest wall can have numerous causes. Some are apparent such as a direct blow during a sporting event or a fall. Other less obvious causes consist of heavy lifting, regular coughing or extreme aerobic exercise that can all cause strain to the rib muscles.

Treatment is generally supportive with rest and over the counter painkiller. Consult a doctor when injury causes chest pain that is severe, consistent, or associated with trouble breathing.

Stress or Anxiety

Although few individuals are willing to believe that stress can elicit such a worrisome symptom, stress-related chest pain is truly no different than a stress-related headache. The pain is often dull or non-specific and gets worse with stress or anxiety.

Typical underlying stressors consist of loss of a relative, school evaluations, and “separating” with a partner or girlfriend.

Frequently stress can make chest pain from another cause appear even worse. It is essential to analyze whether chest pain is the cause of anxiety or the outcome.

Precordial Catch Syndrome

A benign illness of unidentified cause. It occurs most commonly in teenagers and is defined by abrupt onset of extreme, sharp pain along the chest or back.

The pain occurs solely with inspiration (breathing in). A normal episode lasts several minutes and fixes spontaneously.

The pain can also be “broken” with a forced deep motivation. Several episodes may occur daily.

Although its cause stays unsure, precordial catch syndrome has no considerable side effects. There is no specific treatment, and the frequency of events usually declines through adolescence.

Acid Reflux

Can cause stomach or chest pain. It in some cases manifests as a burning experience below the breast bone, though children might not can precisely describing this symptom.

The pain may differ in relation to meals. There are now lots of prescription and over the counter medicines offered to treat heartburn.

Unlike grownups, chest pain due to a cardiac cause is incredibly uncommon in children. Keep in mind that the list below conditions are rare as you examine the causes of chest pain.

Chest Pain in Children

Cardiac Chest Pain Causes in Children


An inflammation of the heart lining. It is normally brought on by a treatable or self-limited infection, but can have other more severe causes. Common pericarditis pain is sharp and mid-sternal and might radiate to the shoulders.

Presuming a sitting position or leaning forward regularly minimizes pain. Cough, troubled breathing and fever prevail.

Coronary Artery Irregularities

May restrict the heart’s oxygen supply and cause symptoms similar to grownups with cardiac chest pain. This can be due to genetic abnormalities of the position of the arteries or obtained diseases like Kawasaki disease.

Severe thickening of the heart muscle and prolonged episodes of fast heart rate can likewise restrict the heart’s blood supply. Children may experience a “typical” crushing mid-sternal chest pain that radiates to the neck and chin or to the left shoulder and arm. Most likely, children will have less particular grievances.

Troubled breathing and sweating might likewise occur. Anybody with these symptoms ought to promptly seek advice from a doctor.

Mitral Valve Prolapse

A minor irregularity of the valve that fills the main pumping chamber of the heart (the left ventricle). It occurs in as much as 6 percent of women and is less regular in men.

Although mitral valve prolapse is reportedly connected with an increased occurrence of chest pain, the precise cause stays uncertain.

In the lack of other uneasy symptoms and signs, chest pain in patients with mitral valve prolapse tends to run an uncomplicated course.

Arterial Aneurysm

An arterial aneurysm is an extending and out-pouching of the vessel that can result in burst. In children, chest pain from an aortic aneurysm is incredibly rare, and it occurs almost specifically in the setting of other uncommon diseases, particularly Marfan syndrome.

Other Causes of Chest Pain

Other relatively typical causes consist of unsuitable accumulation of air, fluid, or inflammation in the chest in addition to lung infections and asthma. Look for other uneasy symptoms to identify if your child requires timely evaluation.

Questions About Chest Pain

What should I do if my child has chest pain?

Don’t panic. Remember, chest pain is generally due to a benign or self-limited illness. Heart disease or other serious illness is a not likely cause.

Nevertheless, if your child has severe chest pain or chest pain related to distressed breathing, fever, sweating, or a heart rate greater than 200, you need to immediately speak with a doctor.

In the lack of these symptoms, many chest pain can await a convenient time to be assessed. Call your doctor if you are not sure.

If I believe my child has to be examined, what kind of doctor should I see?

It is generally much better to begin with your pediatrician or family physician rather than a professional. A lot of children with chest pain do not need the services of a specialized doctor.

Additionally, various causes of chest pain fall under the know-how of various types of experts. If you do have to see a specialist, your doctor can choose which kind of doctor is most proper.

What should I expect at the doctor’s workplace if my child is seen for chest pain?

The assessment typically begins with an extensive history of the problem and a physical assessment. After that, the assessment might differ considerably depending on the initial findings.

Lots of children will need no more screening to establish a diagnosis and start treatment. Sometimes, chest X-ray, electrocardiograms, breathing studies, or consultation with a specialist might be necessary.

What if my child specifically says that his/her “heart hurts”?

For numerous children, the heart is the most recognizable organ in the chest, so they use this expression to represent chest pain of any kind.

The bright side is that children are seldom able to compare cardiac and non-cardiac chest pain, so they are unlikely to be right in laying blame on the heart.

The problem is that when parents and other caregivers hear this expression, it can be extremely hard to convince them that the heart is not the perpetrator.

Children who complain of “heart pain” should be evaluated like other children with chest pain, with attention paid to severity and associated symptoms.


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