Dear Ask The Doctor: Morning, I have a question regarding my heart. I think this may be either heart burn or anxiety but dont want to book an appointment at the doctors because I dont want to waste their time if it is only one of the above. Basically a few months ago, I had to run to catch my train home and I experienced chest pain, couldnt breath, had an aching cold pain in my bottom teeth, pains in my back etc so I called NHS direct when I got home as i was wheezing even after a 2 hour journey home and they sent me to the hospital to get checked over, I was in there for approximately 70 secs and the doctor sent me away and said im not having a heart attack. I booked an appointment the next day to see a doctor and he checked my chest and said I had a cold coming on and he could only put it down to a panic attack unless he made me go and do a run. This happens quite frequently when I have to sprint which I advised the doctor. Since this happened, I keep getting twinges in my heart, quick sharp pains, I googled it and found that it may be down to anxiety, but I get it when I walk round the house and often when i run up the stairs. Last night I went to the gym and im quite concerned now as I was fast jogging on the running machine and started to experience this pain in my heart after about 15 minutes, it was quite mild but I continued to run for an extra 5 minutes and the pain got quite painful but only happend when I breath in, it was as if my lungs were pushing against my heart when I inhaled. I obviosuly stopped running and when my heart rate got back to normal, the pain went away. I hadnt eaten anything before the gym, I had a smoothie around 2 o'clock and a banana an hour before I went to the gym. This morning, I missed my alarm and whilst brushing my teeth I experienced the same twinges. Does this sound like heart burn, anxiety or acid reflux or should I go get checked out to be on the safe side? Please advise Regards Aimee
Dear Patient: Pain on inspiration (inhaling) is often referred to as pleuritic chest pain. It is usually as a result of inflammation of the pleura, two membranes which surround the lung tissue. This type of pain may occur as a result of infection viral or bacterial, chest wall injuries, lung diseases, pneumothorax (when air escapes into the pleural cavity), pulmonary embolism (blood clot in the lung) and sometimes no cause can be identified. I advise attending your family doctor for a detailed history of the pain and a clinical examination. He will be able to exclude many of the above conditions by simply listening to the lungs with a stethoscope, and discuss further necessary investigations such as a Chest x-ray examination.