Heart & Cardiology/chest pain

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Question
I am a 61 yr. old female, 5ft 4 in. and 170 lbs.  BP is 125/84
I started having sharp pains in the left side of my left breast 3 weeks ago.   Dr. did  EKG, blood work and stress test with heart pictures.  All came back OK.  Pains are not constant but mostly on and off sharp stabbing or sudden aching.  It is not severe but does hurt, especially when the sharp stab occurs.  Heart problems run in our family and my twin brother died of a heart attack 3 years ago. Should I insist on more testing or take a wait and see attitude.  I take Crestor, Lotrel, Zoloft, actonel and prilosec.
I would appreciate your input on this.  Thanks!

Answer
Hello G.D.

Chest pain in a young woman 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.

A negative stress test with pictures guarantees 95% freedom from heart attack or cardiac death for at least 7 years.  Additional tests won't help any.

Please write back if this note doesnít answer all your questions.

David Richardson

Heart & Cardiology

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David Richardson

Expertise

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

Experience

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.

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

Publications
Circulation, American Heart Journal, Hypertension.

Education/Credentials
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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