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Noncardiac Chest Pain


What do I need to know about noncardiac chest pain?

Noncardiac chest pain is pain or discomfort in your chest that is not caused by a heart problem. It may be caused by any of the following:

  • Acid reflux
  • Nerve or muscle problems within the esophagus that slow the movement of food
  • Increased sensitivity to pain within your esophagus
  • Panic attacks, anxiety, or depression
  • Chest wall, muscle, or rib pain

How is noncardiac chest pain diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will ask about your symptoms. You may need any of the following to find the cause of your chest pain:

  • pH monitoring is used to check your throat for acid reflux.
  • Manometry measures the pressure within the esophagus. This test may show nerve or muscle problems that cause slow movement of food.
  • An endoscopy may be done to check for ulcers or problem with your esophagus.

How is noncardiac chest pain treated?

Treatment depends on the cause of your chest pain. You may need any of the following:

  • Medicines may be given to treat the cause of your chest pain. You may be given medicines to decrease pain, relieve anxiety, decrease acid reflux, or relax muscles in your esophagus.
  • Cognitive therapy may be helpful if you have panic attacks, anxiety, or depression. It can help you change how you react to situations that tend to trigger your chest pain.

When should I seek immediate care?

  • You have severe chest pain.

When should I contact my healthcare provider?

  • Your chest pain does not get better, even with treatment.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2020 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or IBM Watson Health

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

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