Type your tag names separated by a space and hit enter

Chest Pain

Chest Pain is a topic covered in the 5-Minute Emergency Consult.

To view the entire topic, please or purchase a subscription.

Emergency Central is a collection of disease, drug, and test information including 5-Minute Emergency Medicine Consult, Davis’s Drug, McGraw-Hill Medical’s Diagnosaurus®, Pocket Guide to Diagnostic Tests, and MEDLINE Journals created for emergency medicine professionals. Explore these free sample topics:

Emergency Central

-- The first section of this topic is shown below --



  • One of the most frequent chief complaints in the ED
  • Often the presenting symptom of a high-risk etiology:
    • Acute coronary syndrome
    • Pulmonary embolism
    • Aortic dissection
  • Assume life threatening until proven otherwise.
  • Categorization may suggest the underlying etiology, but the presentation of chest pain can be extremely variable and vague.
  • Thoracic pain:
    • May involve the myocardium, pericardium, the ascending aorta, pulmonary artery, mediastinum, and esophagus
    • Pain is deep, visceral, and poorly localized.
    • Characteristics vary from severe and crushing to mild, burning, or indigestion.
  • Epigastric pain:
    • May involve the descending aorta, diaphragmatic muscles, gallbladder, pancreas, duodenum, and stomach
    • Pain is generally referred to the xiphoid region and in the back.
  • Pleuritic pain:
    • Inflammation or trauma to the ribs, cartilage, muscles, nerves, pleural or pericardial surface
    • Pain increased by breathing, laughing, coughing, sneezing
    • Tenderness to palpation may be present.
    • Diaphragmatic pleurisy:
      • Sharp shooting pains in the epigastrium, lower retrosternal area, or shoulder intensified by thoracic movement
  • Chest wall pain:
    • Inflammation of skin and SC structures of the chest wall
    • Pain is reproduced by:
      • Palpation
      • Horizontal flexion of the arms
      • Extension of the neck
      • Vertical pressure on the head


  • Thoracic:
    • Acute coronary syndrome
    • Pericarditis
    • Myocarditis
    • Stress-induced cardiomyopathy
    • Cardiac syndrome X
    • Stimulant use
    • Thoracic aortic dissection
    • Esophagitis
    • Esophageal spasm
    • GERD
    • Esophageal hyperalgesia
    • Abnormal motility patterns and achalasia
    • Esophageal rupture and mediastinitis
  • Epigastric:
    • Dissection of the descending aorta
    • Peptic ulcer disease
    • Pancreatitis
    • Cholecystitis
    • Splenic rupture
    • Hepatic injury
    • Subdiaphragmatic abscess
  • Pleuritic pain:
    • Pulmonary embolism
    • Pneumothorax
    • Pneumonia
    • Costochondritis
  • Diaphragmatic pleurisy:
    • Splenic rupture
    • Hepatic injury
    • Subdiaphragmatic abscess
  • Esophageal rupture
  • Intercostal myositis
  • Intercostal neuralgia
  • Pectoralis minor strain
  • Pericarditis
  • Pleuritis
  • Pneumonitis
  • Rib fractures
  • Acute chest syndrome of sickle cell
  • Chest wall twinge syndrome:
    • Brief episodes of sharp anterior chest pain lasting 30 sec–3 min, aggravated by deep breathing and relieved by shallow respirations
  • Chest wall pain:
    • Chest wall hematoma
    • Chest wall laceration
    • Herpes zoster
    • Thrombophlebitis of the thoracoepigastric vein
    • Xiphisternal arthritis
    • Adiposis dolorosa
    • Breast abscess, fibroadenosis, carcinoma

-- To view the remaining sections of this topic, please or purchase a subscription --


Rosen, Peter, et al., editors. "Chest Pain." 5-Minute Emergency Consult, 5th ed., Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2016. Emergency Central, emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307450/0.1/Chest_Pain.
Chest Pain. In: Rosen P, Shayne P, Barkin AZ, et al, eds. 5-Minute Emergency Consult. 5th ed. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2016. https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307450/0.1/Chest_Pain. Accessed June 18, 2019.
Chest Pain. (2016). In Rosen, P., Shayne, P., Barkin, A. Z., Wolfe, R. E., Hayden, S. R., Barkin, R. M., & Schaider, J. J. (Eds.), 5-Minute Emergency Consult. Available from https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307450/0.1/Chest_Pain
Chest Pain [Internet]. In: Rosen P, Shayne P, Barkin AZ, Wolfe RE, Hayden SR, Barkin RM, Schaider JJ, editors. 5-Minute Emergency Consult. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2016. [cited 2019 June 18]. Available from: https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307450/0.1/Chest_Pain.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - ELEC T1 - Chest Pain ID - 307450 ED - Rosen,Peter, ED - Shayne,Philip, ED - Barkin,Adam Z, ED - Wolfe,Richard E, ED - Hayden,Stephen R, ED - Barkin,Roger M, ED - Schaider,Jeffrey J, BT - 5-Minute Emergency Consult UR - https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307450/0.1/Chest_Pain PB - Lippincott Williams & Wilkins ET - 5 DB - Emergency Central DP - Unbound Medicine ER -