What questions might a doctor ask my child about chest pain?

Chest pain is extremely common in children, though it is very rare that a child who complains of chest pain will have anything wrong with his or her heart. More common causes of chest pain in children include chest muscle, lung irritation, asthma, gastrointestinal reflux (heartburn), or anxiety. However, for most children with chest pain, a diagnosis will never be found. Conditions whose causes cannot be diagnosed are referred to as idiopathic.
Diagnostic tests are of limited use when evaluating chest pain in children. The strongest tools in the pediatrician’s or pediatric cardiologist’s toolkit are taking a patient history and reviewing the body’s major systems. A physician may ask your child questions such as the following: 
  • Where is the pain located?
  • How long has the pain been present?
  • How often does the pain last?
  • How long does the pain last before going away?
  • Does the pain occur at rest or with exercise?
  • Is the pain associated with an irregular or fast heart rhythm?
  • Have you had any recent illnesses or fevers?
  • Have you had any episodes of passing out (syncope)?
  • Have you had any injuries to your chest recently?

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.