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Heart & Cardiology/Not getting any answers from my cardiologist.


I'm 17 years old, female, moderately active. I've always played sports and everything but for the past year I've been having severe chest pain, irregular heartbeat quite frequently, shortness of breath. At first I thought it was normal because it wasn't happening too often but in about August it was just getting progressively worse so I thought I should go to the doctor. I kind if got lucky and was able to get to a adult cardiologist since I have a family member that works with one. So I went up to them and they said everything looks normal. I've done tons of ECGs, had a heart monitor, and just recently a stress test. The first time I visited with my cardiologist he put me on Bystolic. That was making my chest pain way worse although y irregular heartbeat did stop, for a while. The chest pain was unbearable so I slowly weaned myself off of it. Then my irregular heartbeat came back and my chest pain is still terrible. After I excercise, I have extreme shortness of breath although my lungs and everything are perfect no Asthma or anything of that sort. My breathing makes a weird sound AFTER I'm done exercising and starting to rest. It's prevented me from doing anything really. So this time when I went back to my cardiologist he put me on metoprolol. I haven't been taking it long but feel nauseas. Also a few times my chest pain was extremely bad then it all of a sudden moved to my left arm. It was so painful and my arm went completely weak, I couldn't grip anything. I don't think this is normal but they never seem worried about my breathing or anything. I'm too young for this to be happening. It's holding me back! Please give me some answers.

Thank you,

Hello Hannah,

Chest pain in a young person is usually cramping of muscles in the chest wall.  If pushing on the painful area modifies the pain (makes it better or worse), or if the pain is relieved by bending the body away from the painful area, that proves the pain is from chest  wall.  Even if these maneuvers donít affect the pain, itís still probably chest wall.  Pain caused by narrowing of the coronary arteries that supply blood to the heart is extremely rare below age 40. Chest wall pain is no threat to life or health, just a big nuisance.  Safest management is just to ignore the pain, though Tylenol, aspirin or ibuprofren usually help.  Arm pain is also usually muscular.  Inability to grip is worrisome, but I can't think of anything that would cause chest and arm pain and weaken your grip.  Can you see a neurologist about the grip?  Your shortness of breath is probably from being out of shape, not exercising because of your pain.  Sorry to be of little help.  PLease write back if you think I could help.

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David Richardson


Adult heart function and disease. Not very good about children lesss than 12. Hypertension is o.k. Heart rhythm a special interest.


Certified in cardiology by the American Board of Internal Medicine. Was chairman of division of cardiology at the Medical College of Virginia. Am now mostly retired.

Fellow of American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology and member of American Physiological Society..

Circulation, American Heart Journal, Hypertension.

M.D. from Harvard Medical School. Residency training at Yale Uhniversity School of Medicine and Medical College of Virginia.

Awards and Honors
Gold Heartt Award from American Heart Association in 1995.

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