Young, Healthy, And Having Chest Pain: What To Expect

Health & Medical Blog

As a young, healthy person, feeling pain in your chest might be more likely to shock you than to worry you. After all, only old, out-of-shape people have heart attacks, right? Not exactly; heart attacks can strike anyone, including young people. While most of the time, chest pain in young adults is not related to the heart, sometimes it is. The only way to know for sure what's going on is to go to the nearest emergency room to be checked out. While emergency medical treatment varies depending on your symptoms and the capabilities of the facility, there are some tests and procedures that are often recommended for people having chest pain. Here are some of them.


If you present to the emergency room with chest pain, you will receive an electrocardiogram, or EKG. The reason is that an EKG can show abnormalities that might indicate that you're having trouble with your heart. Because it's a quick, side-effect-free, non-invasive test, it's a great way to figure out whether you're in immediate crisis. The doctor or nurse will place several stickers on your chest, stomach and limbs. Clips from the EKG machine will go on each sticker. While you lay still, the machine will record what your heart is doing. After up to 30 seconds, the test is over and the doctor will look to see whether there are any indications of a heart attack or other heart problem.

Blood Tests

After your EKG, a technician will likely come in to start an IV line and draw blood. The IV line is important because if you were to go into cardiac arrest or develop some other emergent condition, medication can be injected into the line immediately. Usually this line can also be used to draw blood. Several tests will be taken, including ones that detect certain heart enzymes. If these specific enzymes are detected in your bloodstream, it's an indication that the heart muscle has been damaged, either from a heart attack, heart inflammation, or a heart infection.

X-rays and Ultrasound

If the cause of your chest pain hasn't been confirmed yet, an x-ray and a cardiac ultrasound, called an echocardiogram, will likely be done. The x-ray can help the doctor determine whether your heart is enlarged, whether there's a mass in or near your lungs, and whether there's been an injury to the ribcage. All of these can cause chest pain.

A suspicion that there is a heart issue involved will generally lead to the echocardiogram, sometimes called an echo. This is a non-invasive test. The technician will put gel on your chest and take images from several different angles. If you are a woman, you might feel some discomfort if the technician needs to push the wand against your breast, but otherwise, it's not a painful procedure.

Other Tests

Once the previous testing has been done, the doctor might have a good idea as to what is causing your pain. Sometimes, additional diagnostics are necessary. If a heart condition is suspected but not confirmed, you might be given a CT scan of your chest. You might have a lung function test to determine whether the issue is stemming from your lungs. You also might need to be screened for anxiety, which can cause chest pain, heart palpitations, and shortness of breath. The doctors will rule out serious and life-threatening conditions before sending your home.

Because chest pain in young, healthy adults is not usually related to a heart attack, you might be tempted to brush it off. Familiarize yourself with the symptoms of a heart attack so you can get yourself checked out. The emergency room doctors would rather you go into the emergency department if you are having chest pain, even if it turns out to be a pulled muscle or anxiety. The alternative could be staying home while having a heart attack, which might threaten your life and lead to death. Don't take the chance with your health. For more information or assistance, contact services such as Van Wert County Hospital.


3 July 2017