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Chest wall pain 

Chest wall pain
Chapter:
Chest wall pain
Author(s):

John Tanner

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199674107.003.0029
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date: 28 November 2020

Anterior chest pain is a frequent cause of attendance at emergency departments and of admission to hospital. However, it has been estimated that about 25–30% of patients admitted with acute anterior chest wall pain remain undiagnosed despite intensive investigation including chest radiographs, electrocardiography (ECG), coronary angiography, and laboratory tests. After some time in hospital and these expensive investigations, the patient is told ‘we cannot find anything wrong with you, it must be musculoskeletal’. Some of these patients are then referred on to a specialist physician or therapist; others are not. This chapter discusses the causes of musculoskeletal chest wall pain, including ankylosing spondylitis or other chronic inflammatory arthritis, fibromyalgia, hyperventilation syndrome, direct and indirect trauma, infection, costochondritis, and Tietze’s syndrome.

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