Read below about sharp chest pain, including causes and common questions. Or get a personalized analysis of your sharp chest pain from our A.I. health assistant. At Buoy, we build tools that help you know what’s wrong right now and how to get the right care.

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A.I. Health Assistant Causes for Sharp Chest Pain

The list below shows results from the use of our A.I. Health Assistant by Buoy users who experienced sharp chest pain. This list does not constitute medical advice.

  1. 1.Acid Reflux Disease (Gerd)

    Acid reflux disease, also known as GERD, occurs when the acidic contents of the stomach come back up into the esophagus. The most common symptoms are heartburn and regurgitation.

    With proper treatment, symptoms may be relieved within days & at most several weeks.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    nausea, sore throat, pain below the ribs, cough with dry or watery sputum, deep chest pain, behind the breast bone
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  2. 2.Atypical Chest Pain

    Atypical chest pain describes the situation when someone's chest pain is unlikely to be related to heart or lung disease. There are many other possible causes that could explain chest pain, like sore chest wall muscles or psychological factors like stress and anxiety.

    Recovery time depends on the underlying cause.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    chest pain, shortness of breath
    Symptoms that always occur with atypical chest pain:
    chest pain
    Symptoms that never occur with atypical chest pain:
    fever
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  3. 3.Chest Pain From Reduced Cardiac Blood Flow (Angina Pectoris)

    Angina pectoris is chest pain that is felt when heart muscle needs more blood than it is currently getting. This may result from coronary artery disease (CAD). CAD happens when the arteries that supply blood to heart muscle become hardened and narrowed. This is due to the buildup of cholesterol and other material, called plaque, on their inner walls.

    Angina pectoris is reflective of underlying heart disease, which is a chronic condition once it develops.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    chest pain, chest pain, tight, heavy, squeezing chest pain, moderate chest pain, deep chest pain, behind the breast bone
    Symptoms that always occur with chest pain from reduced cardiac blood flow (angina pectoris):
    chest pain
    Symptoms that never occur with chest pain from reduced cardiac blood flow (angina pectoris):
    productive cough
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  4. 4.Mitral Valve Prolapse

    Mitral valve prolapse (MVP) occurs when the valve between the heart's left upper chamber (left atrium) and the left lower chamber (left ventricle) doesn't close properly because the flaps of the valve are "floppy." Most people who have the condition are born with it.

    Without surgery, this is a lifelong condition.

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, anxiety, rib pain, shortness of breath, racing heart beat
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  5. 5.Aortic Dissection

    An aortic dissection occurs when blood gets between the walls of the aorta. The splitting of the wall can spread and send create dangerous blood clots.

    Mortality is high, even after surgery

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    being severely ill, chest pain, pain below the ribs, sharp chest pain, spontaneous upper back pain
    Symptoms that always occur with aortic dissection:
    being severely ill
    Urgency:
    Emergency medical service

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  6. 6.Chronic Costochondritis (Chest Wall Syndrome)

    Costochondritis is an inflammation of the cartilage that connects a rib to the breastbone. Pain caused by costochondritis may mimic that of a heart attack or other heart conditions.

    Costochondritis is generally self-limiting but may take several weeks to go away.

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    rib pain, chest pain, chest pain that is worse when breathing, rib pain when moving, pain when pressing on the chest
    Urgency:
    Phone call or in-person visit
  7. 7.Myocarditis

    The myocardium is the muscular tissue that makes up the walls of the heart, allowing it to contract and push blood throughout the body. Myocarditis is the condition when this muscular tissue becomes inflamed, often as a result of an infection, causing the heart to struggle to pump blood.

    If myocarditis has not damaged the heart too much, expect a 2-3 week course of medication to treat infection.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, headache, shortness of breath, muscle aches, chest pain
    Urgency:
    Hospital emergency room
  8. 8.Heart Attack

    Most heart attacks happen when a clot in the coronary artery blocks the supply of blood and oxygen to the heart. Often this leads to an irregular heartbeat - called an arrhythmia - that causes a severe decrease in the pumping function of the heart.

    Indefinite

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    chest pain, shortness of breath, tight, heavy, squeezing chest pain, being severely ill, nausea
    Urgency:
    Emergency medical service
  9. 9.Pericarditis (Inflammation Surrounding the Heart)

    Pericarditis is a condition in which the membrane, or sac, around the heart is inflamed. This sac is called the pericardium.

    2 weeks

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, chest pain, being severely ill, fever, deep chest pain, behind the breast bone
    Symptoms that always occur with pericarditis (inflammation surrounding the heart):
    being severely ill
    Urgency:
    Hospital emergency room
  10. 10.Stomach Ulcer

    A peptic ulcer is a sore in the lining of the stomach or the first part of your small intestine (the duodenum), which causes pain following meals or on an empty stomach.

    2-4 weeks with treatment

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, nausea, loss of appetite, moderate abdominal pain, abdominal cramps (stomach cramps)
    Symptoms that never occur with stomach ulcer:
    pain in the lower left abdomen
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Sharp Chest Pain

  • Q.Where is your chest pain exactly?
  • Q.Do you notice your heart beating hard, rapidly, or irregularly (also called palpitations)?
  • Q.Any fever today or during the last week?
  • Q.Do your symptoms occur after an emotional time or recent stress?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, try our sharp chest pain symptom checker to find out more.

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Sharp Chest Pain Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced sharp chest pain have also experienced:

    • 33% Sharp Rib Pain
    • 6% Rib Pain on One Side
    • 5% Chest Pain
  • People who have experienced sharp chest pain had symptoms persist for:

    • 49% Less Than a Day
    • 23% Less Than a Week
    • 13% Over a Month
  • People who have experienced sharp chest pain were most often matched with:

    • 36% Atypical Chest Pain
    • 36% Chest Pain From Reduced Cardiac Blood Flow (Angina Pectoris)
    • 27% Acid Reflux Disease (Gerd)
  • Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

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