Chest pain is the third most common complaint of patients presenting to Emergency Rooms in the US. While it is a frequent health issue, we approach it very cautiously as potential causes of chest pain range from benign (like muscle strains and anxiety) to serious (like blood clots and heart attacks). Accurately and quickly evaluating and diagnosing the cause of chest pain is critical to provide appropriate treatment and to avoid complications.
At ContinuEM we are uniquely prepared to diagnose and treat causes of chest pain as our physicians are residency-trained in Emergency Medicine. They have spent hundreds to thousands of hours studying chest pain and meeting patients with the diagnoses that constitute this chief complaint.
When a patient presents with chest pain, the first step is to take a thorough medical history. This includes asking about the location and characteristics of the pain, as well as any associated symptoms such as shortness of breath, nausea, or sweating. Certain factors like timing may also help give us clues as to the severity of the cause. We may also ask about the patient's risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and smoking.
Secondly, through the physical exam, our trained ER provider can further risk stratify the chest pain. Specifically, they will listen to the heart and lungs. Murmurs or irregular heartbeats can be clues to more concerning diagnoses.
Next, they can utilize an array of diagnostic tests to help further evaluate chest pain. These tests include (but are not limited to):
This test measures the electrical activity of the heart and can help determine if there is any damage to the heart muscle or if the patient is experiencing an abnormal heart rhythm.
We are equipped with a full on-site lab and can do much more than cursory tests, including cholesterol panels to help further stratify risk.
This test can help identify any abnormalities in the lungs or other structures in the chest, such as pneumonia or lung cancer.
This test can provide detailed images of the chest, including the heart, lungs, and blood vessels. It can help identify problems such as a blood clot in the lung or a heart attack.
In rare instances, fluid around the heart can cause pain. The best method to rule this condition in or out is with an ultrasound.
Treatment for chest pain ultimately depends on the underlying cause or various causes. If we recognize a life-threatening emergency at any time during your visit, we will communicate with EMS and get you to an appropriate hospital as quickly as possible. In general, when dealing with any cause of chest pain, early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent potential complications and improve outcomes.
Ultrasound, CT and MRI availability is based on clinical evaluation, medical necessity, availability and insurance eligibility.
Our goal is to provide urgent medical care to anyone in the area in their time of need at a cost that is right for them.Insurance & Pricing
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