My child frequently complains of chest pain: What should I do?
Is it normal for a child to complain of chest pain? Like in other places worldwide, in India too there is a fair occurrence of chest pain in children. Both boys and girls experience mild to severe aches that may last from 3 seconds to almost 3 minutes before subsiding. Clinical studies reveal that recurring frequency, may affect the daily lives of the children and their parents. They miss school, have restrictions on diet, extracurricular activities and play hours. Anxiety-related uneasiness troubles everyone. As a parent you can breathe easy knowing that the hurt may simply be due to an abnormal heart rhythm after intense activity or stress related exams. In almost 95% children this pain is not linked to the heart. As the child grows, the pains subside. In few cases, specific treatment may be required. Understanding the discomfort, medical history related to the pain is critical for evaluation, diagnosis and line of treatment.
Thankfully the best pediatric cardiologists are available to clinically assess, diagnose the causes and bring a smile back on the child’s face and relief for the parents.
Source credit: www.NCBI.nlm.nih.gov
This chart shows identifiable characteristics pertaining to Indian children.
When your child complains of hurting in the chest region, it is medically, referred as ‘pediatric chest pain.’ Noncardiac influences like Musculoskeletal causes, Precordial Catch Syndrome, and stomach cramps are the primary reasons a specialist is likely to check. When the ache recurs frequently then, it could pertain to pericarditis or inflammation in the sack which surrounds the heart. The chest has multiple structures that may create painful conditions. The characteristics may appear to be different in case of teenagers.
Classic chest pain symptoms in Children:
Source credit: National Health Portal GOI
- Sudden and severe pain in the left side of the chest
- Growing pains – the adolescent phase
- Heartburns after meals which lead to gastrointestinal issues like acid reflux
- Inflammation of the sack bordering the heart
- Tightness in the chest
- Shortness of breath
Common causes of chest pain in Children:
Other causes that create difficulty are:
- Psychogenic reasons related to anxiety
- Idiopathic – not concerned with anything specific
- Lungs – the membranes get irritated and/or asthma induced
- Myocarditis – inflammation of the heart muscles
- Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy – heart thickening
- Abnormal heart rhythms
- Marfan syndrome – connective tissue disorders
When to seek medical Appointment:
It is quite frightening for the child to experience any kind of physical pain in the body. As a parent, do not discard the complain of chest pain as an excuse. If the discomfort is recurring, then seek advice of the doctor. There are specialists who provide healthcare care in the most structured way for the little children. Consult the pediatrician who may guide you to a cardiologist if necessary. However, as mentioned earlier, nearly 95% of the chest pain in children can be sorted out even without tests. But the evaluation is a must-procedure which will eliminate doubts of physical complications. As a parent look for critical signs to seek a medical appointment:
- If the child often complains of chest pain during or following exercise or sports activities.
- Dizziness or rapid heartbeat during intensive activity.
- Family history related to chest pain.
As part of first aid cool compresses can be useful till medical assistance is available. Let the child rest and relax before the appointment is scheduled. The child should not indulge in any strenuous activity following the aches. If the home remedies do not subside the pain, then contact the doctor. It is also advisable to seek professional medical assistance if the child has a persistent coughing episode following the chest pain. In rare cases of fever or excessive sleep requires immediate medical attention.
Diagnosis & Treatment
The healthcare provider located in a clinic or hospital will evaluate the symptoms to identify the possible causes. Routine examination questions that the child will be asked are:
- Exact location of the pain.
- How often the aches occur and for how long it lasts.
- Is the ache related to intense outdoor activity, rest, stress related to homework or projects?
- Is the agony linked to anomalies of the heartbeat?
- Illness or fever in the recent past.
- Any episode of being unconscious or fainting related to the pain.
- Any physical injury that hurts the chest.
Chronic chest pain in children can be taken care of with awareness. With experts at Ankura Hospital, the road to recovery is possible. Skilled technicians and specialists take up the challenge and lend a helping hand to parents and children. The best practices are used to treat the young patients. Both sensitivity and privacy are maintained during the course of the treatment.