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Quick reference medical handouts used by Pediatric offices


My child complains of chest pain


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A complaint of chest pain isn't reserved for adults but may occur in a child as well. Most of the causes aren't serious, but may require a doctor's attention. Follow this chart for more information when your child complains of chest pain

Child complains of chest pain        

       
Does your child have a fever?

Yes

These symptoms may represent BRONCHITIS, or if there is a higher fever, PNEUMONIA, or if there is shortness of breath, s

Urgent! See your child's doctor as soon a possible

No

Does your child have a sharp pain in the chest when he or she takes a deep breath?

Yes

This may be from PLEURISY, an inflammation of the lining around the lung. Have this checked by your doctor. Often,  ibuprofen will cure the problem

No

       
Does your child have asthma? Is your child wheezing and coughing Yes
Children with asthma frequently complain of chest pain, even when no audible wheezing is heard. Adjustment of asthma medication as needed to control symptoms

No

Does your child have pain in one side of the chest with shortness of breath and suffers from asthma or cystic fibrosis?

Yes

Rarely, air will leak from a lung to fill the chest cavity, making it difficult to breathe. This is called a PNEUMOTHORAX.

Have this checked by your child's doctor right away. Treatment may require hospitalization and a tube placed in the chest to remove the air.

No

Does your child have shortness of breath with chest discomfort and numb hands, or does the breathing sound wheezy or choked?

Yes

HYPERVENTILATION (overbreathing) can cause shortness of breath, numb hands and chest pressure. Hyperventilation is not serious and is usually treated by having the child breath into a paper bag

No

Does the child have a blistering rash with a red base that is very painful?

Yes

This rash is often from chickenpox or shingles which can cause chest pain consult your child's physician for the proper diagnosis

No

Is the pain in the front of the chest, along the border of the breastbone and ribs, especially after activity?

Yes

This may be from COSTOCHONDRITIS an inflammation of the joints in the chest. Usually treated with an anti-inflammatory medicine such as ibuprofen.

No

Did your child's chest pain begin after your youngster started a new sport or activity and can be made worse by certain body movements.

Yes

More than likely the child has a muscle sprain Treatment with anti-inflammatory agents. Consult physician if it does not clear in a reasonable period of time.

No

Is your child's chest pain accompanied by sweating, "pounding" heart. feeling of dizziness or fainting.

Yes

The problem could be the heart, the most likely cause is an irregular heart beat Consult your child's doctor at the first possible time

No

       
Does your child complain of burning pain under the breast bone that worsens with laying down or after eating certain foods. Yes
Strong possibility that your child has esophagitis (inflammation of the esophagis) and/or gastric reflux Consult your child's doctor at the first possible time

No

       
Your child si struggling to breath, blue around the mouth, sweating and anxious, and faints ot feels faint Yes

Call 911

   
         
posted 05-22-06 ; see our other symptom "flow sheets"

 

As a reminder, this information should not be relied on as medical advice and is not intended to replace the advice of your child’s pediatrician. Please read our full disclaimer.

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