|When It's Not a Heart Attack: Other Causes of Chest Pain|
by Richard N. Fogoros, M.D.
Q. I had a double bypass in July of 2006. A couple of months ago, I started having chest pains again. My doctor admitted me to the hospital and ran some tests. They came back normal. Nitro tablets relieve the pain. What could be causing it?
A. The possibility of coronary-artery disease, of course, is usually the chief concern when someone has chest pain—especially a dull pain that occurs during exertion or emotional stress and is relieved by nitroglycerin. But many other common disorders produce chest pain or discomfort. Sometimes it can be a challenge, both to the patient and the doctor, to figure out the cause.
Things that can cause chest pain besides heart attacks include:
Get your free mini-med school, with our monthly health newsletter!
For someone such as yourself who already has known coronary-artery disease, cardiac pain surely was the leading concern, at least initially. It's good that the tests were negative. However, one of the best ways to make absolutely sure it’s not cardiac pain would be to work with your doctor to find the cause, treat it, and make sure it goes away.
Last updated and/or approved: March 2011. Original article appeared in spring 2007 former print magazine. Bio current as of that issue. This general health-care information is not meant as individual advice. Please see our disclaimer.