Non-Cardiac Chest Pain

Non-cardiac chest pain

Chest pain is discomfort located between the top of the belly and the base of the neck. When it is not caused by a heart problem it is referred to as non-cardiac chest pain, and it often has a GI (gastrointestinal) origin. These include swallowing disorders such as esophageal spasm (caused by the muscles of the lower esophagus squeezing painfully due  to acid reflux or stress); heartburn, or stomach acid backing up into the esophagus (see GERD); or even atypical gall bladder attacks. There are also many non-GI causes of noncardiac chest pain, such as lung disease (bronchitis, pneumonia), problems affecting the ribs and chest muscles, anxiety or panic attacks, or inflammation of the sack  around the heart (pericarditis) or of the  lungs (pleurisy), among others.

Whenever chest pain occurs, it is imperative that heart conditions be ruled out before searching for other causes of the discomfort, as they tend to be the most potentially serious. Not all chest”indigestion” results from excess stomach acid.