Patient Care — Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
Phone: 210-257-1888 or tollfree 1-877-493-5040
Chest pain: described as a heaviness, pressure, or discomfort in the chest. Unexpected chest pain is a symptom that makes most of us think 'heart attack', but chest pain can have many causes.
Nevertheless, you should call you health care provider or 911 IMMEDIATELY if:
- There is sudden onset of discomfort in the chest (in an adult). It is safer to assume that the chest pain has something to do with the heart and call the doctor than it is to ignore a condition that could be life-threatening.
- Chest pain is associated with shortness of breath, an irregular pulse, sweating, dizziness, or if the pain is severe.
- Known angina increases in severity, frequency, or duration; begins to occur at rest; or angina pain is unrelieved by nitroglycerin.
Chest pain that is caused by a heart problem may be mild or intense. Feelings of pressure or squeezing on the chest are often more prominent than actual pain which is usually located in the center of the chest, under the breastbone. It may also radiate to the back, jaw, or shoulder (usually the left) and may be accompanied by nausea, sweating, dizziness, palpitations, or shortness of breath.
Stable angina (chest pain caused by temporary inadequacy of blood flow to the heart muscle) usually lasts 1 to 15 minutes and is provoked by exercise or stress and relieved by rest or nitroglycerin. Unstable angina is angina that either occurs at rest or is an increase in the frequency, severity, or duration of previously stable angina.
Angina and unstable angina can lead to an acute myocardial infarction (heart attack). The chest discomfort of a heart attack often is prolonged (longer than 15 or 20 minutes) and is unrelieved by rest or nitroglycerin. However, some patients, especially diabetics, can have a heart attack without feeling any chest discomfort at all. Their only symptoms might be shortness of breath, dizziness, or sweating.