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Heart Disease Health Center

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Quick Facts on Chest Pain

Are there different types of angina? continued...

With unstable angina, chest pain can occur even without exertion. Here a clot partly or completely blocks your heart arteries for a short period of time. However, the clot either breaks up by itself or breaks up after treatment with medications, so permanent damage to the heart does not occur. If the clot persists, a heart attack will result. With a heart attack the blockage lasts long enough to permanently damage part of your heart muscle. The longer your heart muscle goes without oxygen, the larger the heart attack. Your doctor will consider three important factors in deciding whether you are having a heart attack:

What other conditions may cause chest pain?

Although chest pain is the most common symptom of a heart attack and heart disease, discomfort in the chest may also be caused my many other conditions, such as:

Digestive system problems:


  • Inflammation of the membrane surrounding the lungs (pleurisy)
  • Inflammation of the membrane covering the heart (pericarditis)

Heart, lung, and heart valve problems:

  • A tear in the wall of the aorta (aortic dissection)
  • Narrowing of the aortic valve (aortic stenosis)
  • A blood clot in one of the arteries of the lungs (pulmonary embolism)

Other causes:

1 | 2

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