Chest pain is one of the most common complaints that will bring a patient to the A+E department. While the patient may be worried about a heart attack, there are many other causes of pain in the chest that the doctor will need to consider. Some diagnoses are life-threatening, while others are less dangerous.
The following anatomic locations can all be potential sources of chest pain:
• The heart including the pericardium and aorta.
• The chest wall including ribs and muscles.
• The back including the spine, the nerves, and the back muscles.
• The lung, pleura, diaphragm or oesophagus.
There may be classic presentations of signs and symptoms for many diseases but they can also present atypically and there may also be significant overlap among the symptoms of each condition.