How we clinicians approach “Chest Pain” depends on the setting. If we’re in our clinic or office, & think this may be imminently serious, we call 911. If not, we make our own diagnosis. The following discussions overlap both scenarios, how we think in outpatient care, and in the E.R. See also Diagram — Heart Anatomy).
Step 1 — Determine if it may be Coronary Artery Disease (Heart Attack, Angina)
If we don’t think so, diagnostic strategy goes by whether chest pain is “pleuritic” or not:
2a. “Pleuritic” Chest Pain (Hurts with Deep Breaths or with Coughing)
2b. “Non-Pleuritic” Chest Pain (Steady Chest Pain, no change with breathing)