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Old 10-20-2008, 12:27 AM   #1
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18 year old with chest pain

I'm an 18 year old, healthy, fairly active girl. No history of heart disease or anything like that. I smoke a few cigarettes a week, maybe 1 pack every two weeks or so. I'm on loestrin birth control, with no problems yet, i've been on it about 5 months.

Anyways, I was laying down saturday at 3am after riding around with a friend, no smoking, drinking, or drugs. My chest started burning on my left side, right around my heart, and it started feeling like someone was squeezing my heart. It helps to push on it or to sit up, and I can only lay on my right side.

I went to my shoddy hospital's ER saturday evening. (my parents were on vacation and they took me to Audrain Medical Center as soon as they got back. AMC is the laughing stock of Mid-MO.) My heart rate was 130/88, at rest. I had fever of 100.9. My heart and lungs sounded clear to her. My chest x-ray was clear. The GI cocktail was disgusting and I'll never take that again. Literally, I was hyperventilating and the doctor looked scared. She asked me a million questions, and even responded with "REALLY?! Huh...." before pushing on my chest to see what hurt. Obviously. It hurt.

She decided to call it costochondritis, even though it doesn't match any of my symptoms. She didn't even understand what could have caused it considering I havent been hit or injured, I haven't been coughing, nothing out of the ordinary. Apparently, costochondritis is when the cartiledge between your ribs and your sternum become inflamed from injury or overactivity.

I've had the flu since tuesday, but I havent thrown up, but I've felt like it plenty...every time I move.

Any ideas what is going on? My friend's grandma thinks I have pericarditis, but she hasn't actually seen me, so she can't diagnose me. My parents think I have pleurisy. I just want to know what the hell is going on. I feel like my heart is going to explode or stop.

An 18 year old girl shouldn't be having chest pains for no reason. I swear, I'm not crazy!

 
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Old 10-20-2008, 04:57 AM   #2
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Re: 18 year old with chest pain

Costochondritis doesn't necessarily have to be caused by coughing. With me, I didn't even know what caused mine when the doctor first diagnosed me with it. She kept asking me all these questions that answered no to. It took me a few days before I realized that I had been ackwardly lifting heavy buckets of water and that is what set it off.

My symptoms were more of a stabbing pain than a burning. Pushing on that side of my chest made it hurt worse, which is a sign that is could be costochondritis (which is probably why the doctor said that it was).

Did she give you any ways to help with the pain?

I wish I could help you more, but I can only tell you about my experience with costochondritis. It might be time to get a second opinion if you are able.

Feel better
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Old 10-20-2008, 10:25 AM   #3
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Re: 18 year old with chest pain

I haven't been lifting anything heavy. I haven't ran into anything, or fallen. (I'm clumsy.) I havent done pilates in about 3 weeks because I've been under the weather, so I didn't pull anything.

Pushing on my chest makes the burning, squeezing pain go away, except when i lay on my stomach...then it feels like my heart is going to burst out of my chest. I think she just pushed on the wrong spot, and she didn't understand when I said it hurts, but it's not the pain I'm talking about.

I figured out a way to describe the pain. It feels like a lobster is latched on to my heart.

And also, I forgot to mention this. Talking too much while sitting, or walking more than a few steps makes me breathe very heavy, but I don't feel light-headed or anything.

 
Old 10-20-2008, 01:40 PM   #4
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Re: 18 year old with chest pain

You didn't mention an EKG, did they do one?

It could be pericarditis, tho I'd think your fever would be higher and your clear chest x-ray and clear sound (thru stethoscope) may rule out peri - I don't know. Your breathing trouble is suspicious of pericarditis.
[url]http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/dci/Diseases/peri/peri_signs.html[/url]

Pleurisy doesn't really match up with your symptoms IMO. [url]http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/dci/Diseases/pleurisy/pleurisy_signs_symptoms.html[/url]

You should be evaluated by a (good) cardiologist soon. Hopefully it's a false alarm and it really is just costochondritis.

Last edited by AuntieLeela; 10-20-2008 at 01:45 PM.

 
Old 10-20-2008, 06:22 PM   #5
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Re: 18 year old with chest pain

They didn't do an EKG or any blood tests. I'm going to the doctor tomorrow afternoon, hopefully they will do more tests than sit me in a room and drug me up. The pain isn't getting any better at all.

 
Old 10-21-2008, 02:09 AM   #6
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Re: 18 year old with chest pain

Wow . . . I'm stunned.

You came in with chest pain and they didn't do an EKG?

That's a bad hospital, an EKG for chest pain is basic, rudimentary. Not doing one is like you or me forgetting our ABCs. Try not to go there again if you can help it - who knows what other mistakes they're making. <shudder>

Good luck with your appt today.

 
Old 10-21-2008, 06:08 PM   #7
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Re: 18 year old with chest pain

Yeah, that hospital is horrible. It's the joke of Mid-Missouri, if you know anyone from there. There was GRASS on the floor of my room. It was disgusting. Considering how much pain I was in, I didn't care. The doctor and nurses even commented on it, and they didn't move me to another room or call someone to clean it. They just acted like it wasn't a huge deal.

I went to the doctor today and she said the same thing, but she didn't do any other tests. Just pushed on my chest and said "ok, this is what you have." Apparently, if this doesn't go away, they're going to put me on steroids.

I'm getting so frustrated! She said my body is short of breath because my brain is telling my lungs not to breathe. It doesn't hurt to breathe, only when I'm active or laying down, so why would my brain tell my lungs not to breathe? Why are my doctors not listening to anything I'm telling them?

As much as I hate blood tests, shouldn't they be at least testing me to see if my potassium levels and stuff are ok? I dont know what other vitamins affect your heart, but they haven't done anything but numb my throat and prod my chest.

Just because my chest hurts when you push on it doesn't mean THATS WHERE IT HURTS. If you push on your sternum...it hurts, I promise.

 
Old 10-22-2008, 05:17 AM   #8
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Re: 18 year old with chest pain

How hard did they press? The doctor barely had to touch mine to recreate the pain I was feeling. I agree pressing hard can cause pain, but I don't think they pressed hard enough to cause pain that wasn't already there.

When my costochondritis flares up I feel it most when I am laying down or doing physical activity. Breathing never was a problem.

Even though it was pretty certain that I had costochondritis the doctor still did blood tests, a chest x-ray, and an EKG. I don't understand why yours didn't because it is possible that could be something else that exhibits those symptoms.

I was given a steriod to help with mine and after a day or two it started to get better. If your pain doesn't go away, go back and get the steriod. If the pain doesn't go away soon I would go back and demand they do more tests. Heck, I might even demand the tests if you go just to get the meds.

Feel better and I am sorry that this is happening to you
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Old 10-22-2008, 07:45 AM   #9
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Re: 18 year old with chest pain

Honestly, it NEVER recreates the pain. It just feels like someone is pushing down on my bone, instead of the burning squeezing pain near my heart.

Yeah, I walked moderately fast today, across a small parking lot, up some stairs and into my room, and I almost passed out. Breathing is definitely a problem. I'm a very active person, so it's not like I'm really out of shape.

 
Old 10-24-2008, 12:08 PM   #10
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Re: 18 year old with chest pain

Well, you mentioned you've been suffering from the flu. And sometimes, the flu itself can cause the strangest aches and pains in the oddest areas. Is it possible that what you're feeling is just one of the discomforts of the flu? The trouble breathing can be flu related, too. After all, despite what most people thing, influenza IS a rather serious illness. And the symptoms can get pretty darn severe.

 
Old 10-24-2008, 12:10 PM   #11
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Re: 18 year old with chest pain

Quote:
Originally Posted by AuntieLeela View Post
Wow . . . I'm stunned.

You came in with chest pain and they didn't do an EKG?

That's a bad hospital, an EKG for chest pain is basic, rudimentary. Not doing one is like you or me forgetting our ABCs. Try not to go there again if you can help it - who knows what other mistakes they're making. <shudder>

Good luck with your appt today.
Quoted for truth. An EKG should be the FIRST thing done during a workup for chest pain. Heck, when you call 911 for chest pain, it's the first thing the paramedics do; hook you up to an EKG and send a strip wirelessly to the doctor at the hospital.

 
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