Cardiologist & Interventional Cardiologist located in Washington, DC & Silver Spring, MD
It's understandable that having chest pain is a worrying experience, but many causes of chest pain aren't due to serious heart problems. To find out what's causing your chest pain, board-certified cardiologist Luc Oke, MD, and his team at Heart Consultants provide extensive on-site testing facilities using state-of-the-art technology like Doppler ultrasound, electrophysiology, echocardiography, and stress testing. Call the Silver Spring, Maryland, or Washington, DC, office today to find out more, or use the online form to book an appointment.
Chest Pain Q & A
What causes chest pain?
Although chest pain has a close association with heart problems, many causes of chest pain aren't heart-related. Examples include:
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Swallowing disorders
- Injured ribs
- Pulmonary embolism (PE)
- Panic attacks
It's reassuring to know that having chest pain doesn't necessarily mean you have a serious heart condition, but you should never ignore pain in your chest. It could be a different kind of potentially life-threatening disorder, or it might indeed be a symptom of heart failure or a heart attack.
When chest pain does have a link to your heart, it's known as angina. Many people have angina because of a problem with the blood flow through their heart. While not dangerous in itself, angina can be a warning sign that you're at risk of a heart attack or stroke.
What symptoms are associated with heart-related chest pain?
Heart-related chest pain typically spreads into one or both arms. It might also travel through to your shoulders and back, and up into your neck and head. Chest pain from a heart attack is likely to be searing or crushing, and often severe.
You could be having a heart attack if you're experiencing tightness in your chest, or symptoms such as shortness of breath, dizziness, weakness, cold sweats, nausea, and vomiting.
Research shows that women might experience different symptoms than men when they have a heart attack. If there's any chance your chest pain could be due to a heart attack, you should seek emergency medical attention.
How is chest pain diagnosed?
Because of the risk of potentially life-threatening heart or lung problems, the first stage in diagnosing chest pain is to check for these conditions. If these tests show you aren't in immediate danger, Dr. Oke might recommend further investigations. Potential tests include:
- Electrocardiogram (ECG)
- Blood tests
- Chest X-ray
- Electrocardiogram stress test
- Electrophysiology testing
- Nuclear imaging
- Nuclear stress test
- Implantable monitors
- Holter monitors
Once Dr. Oke knows what's causing your chest pain, he can advise you on the best course of treatment.
How is chest pain treated?
The treatment for chest pain varies according to the cause. You might have to take medications for conditions like angina or undergo a cardiac catheterization procedure for stent placement.
Dr. Oke also has significant expertise in using minimally invasive techniques to fit pacemakers, cardiac defibrillators, and other implantable devices.
If you have concerns about chest pain, call Heart Consultants today or book an appointment online.