A patient suffering from severe chest pain underwent numerous cardiac examinations for more than a year before finally being diagnosed with simple “costochondritis”. An update on this condition with Dr. Gérald Kierzek, medical director of TipsForWomens.
This is an astonishing case which was reported by the Daily MailMonday December 11, 2023. A young British woman, suffering from chest pain, thinks she is suffering from heart problems, but after numerous examinations, the problem is ultimately very different.
Chest pains but a strong heart…
Mary Gold says she suffered “severe chest pains.” In just six months, the pain goes from a simple pinch to a constant sharp, throbbing sensation.
Subjected to a whole battery of examinations (ECG type), none showed anything abnormal. Over the next 18 months, several other tests were carried out, such as an angiogram (a radiological examination of the arteries, editor’s note) which revealed nothing suspicious.
The doctors nevertheless discovered that the patient suffered from high blood pressure and high cholesterol. She then receives beta blockers and statins. Following this treatment, the palpitations subside slightly but do not go away. Same thing for chest pain.
Tired of this pain, the young woman consults a new general practitioner. The diagnosis finally comes!
Inflammation affecting the front part of the ribs
It was costochondritis: a benign and relatively painful inflammation, located between two shoulder blades. This common cause of pain in the front of the chest is often poorly or even rarely diagnosed.
“This is an inflammation of the joint, which causes rib pain. Although it is not serious in itself, this chest pain deserves to be properly diagnosed. For this, as soon as chest pain appears, the 15th must be performed. The doctor will then carry out an elimination diagnosis, based on the patient’s risk factors and history. The objective of this support? Eliminate an emergency using the PIED memotechnic: P Pericarditis, Pneumothorax, Pleurisy, I Infarction, E Pulmonary embolism, E Pericardial effusion D Aortic dissection“, assures Dr. Gérald Kierzek, emergency physician and medical director of TipsForWomens.Because, it must be remembered, we never know the origin of an inflammation.”
The right attitude to summarize? In the event of sudden and intense pain in the rib cage, emergency services (15) should always be contacted.
Costochondritis: possible treatments
Treatment is symptomatic. Pain can thus be relieved by taking analgesics – such as paracetamol – and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). In the long term, strenuous activities involving the chest muscles should be avoided.