Chest pain can be a symptom of heart disease. Chest pain is the most common presenting symptom of coronary blockages ("obstructive coronary disease")
The medical term for chest pain that results from a significant coronary blockage is angina.
Angina usually starts with physical exertion but may also occur at rest if the blockage is severe.
Features that suggest chest pain may be angina
1. The pain occurs with exertion
2. The pain is central or left sided and feels like a pressure or someone sitting on the chest
3. The pain is not made worse with movement or coughing
4. The chest tightness usually radiates to the throat and occasionally down the left (or right) arm.
5. There may be sweating and shortness of breath
If you are experiencing chest pain that does not resolve immediately within 10 minutes then please - call an ambulance.
The best way to evaluate chest pain depends on many factors. The level of risk and ability to exercise are important consderations. Sometimes, a stress test is the right investigation. In other circumsances, a coronary angiogram is appropriate up front. I always tailor the approach to each patient based on their individual circumstances. A "one size fits all" strategy is usually not the best approach.
Other warning symptoms to be aware of that may be unusual forms of angina or chest pain
1. Chest or throat pain after meals
2. Throat tightness with or without arm pain
3. Left arm pain at rest or with exertion
4. Jaw ache at rest or with exertion