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Causes and Treatment For Sharp Chest Pain

There are over 26 known causes for sharp chest pain. The list includes:

  • Stress
  • Inflammation
  • Angina
  • Scleroderma
  • Pregnancy
  • Asthma
  • Acid Reflux
  • Herpes virus heart-doctor-nyc

For the sake of time and continuity, we will be reviewing two of the most common causes and the treatment protocol associated with them. The causes are angina and acid reflux.

First Aid and Emergency Treatment for Angina

The first thing to realize is that angina does not always mean a person is having a heart attack. However, the symptoms of angina, which include sharp chest pain, do raise the risk of heart attack.

It’s a good idea to know exactly what to do in an emergency situation where heart attack symptoms might be present.

The person complaining of sharp chest pain will likely know what kind of angina they’ve been diagnosed with. There are two types:

  1. Unstable angina
  2. Chronic stable angina

In either case, the symptoms associated with this condition mean that the heart muscle is not getting enough blood. If healthy blood flow is not restored to the muscle, it can cause a heart attack.

Treat angina using nitroglycerin tablets or nitroglycerin spray. Both of these delivery systems can be applied under the tongue. If the angina is unstable, wait five minutes to see if it subsides after the nitroglycerin dose. If it does not, call 911.

Patients with stable angina can be treated with up to three doses of nitroglycerin over a span of 15 minutes. Even if the episode subsides, the patient should follow-up with a cardiologist for further testing.

Acid Reflux or Heart Attack?

This may sound like a strange question to ask yourself, but believe it or not, a heart attack can be mistaken for a severe bout of acid reflux.

Don’t just look for sharp chest pain; pay attention to the other symptoms that accompany it, like:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Pain in the jaw, left arm, or back

If other symptoms are present seek emergency medical attention as soon as possible. Also, have the person chew an uncoated aspirin tablet to prevent clot formation within the heart.

An episode of acid reflux, on the other hand, can be treated with over-the-counter or prescription antacids. A prescription adjustment may be all that is immediately needed.

Dr. Seldon, a Heart Doctor and Cardiologist in New York City, offers same day appointments and all testing is done on site.  Call us at (212) 367-8000.



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