Magazine article USA TODAY

Teen's Chest Pains Rarely Are Serious

Magazine article USA TODAY

Teen's Chest Pains Rarely Are Serious

Article excerpt

When a teenager feels sudden chest pains or other symptoms of heart troubles, it can cause a lot of concern for both the youth and his or her parents. Yet, nearly all the supposedly heart-related symptoms adolescents experience are benign and, in fact, not related to the heart, indicates Curt Daniels, clinical instructor of internal medicine, Ohio State University, Columbus. "It is common for adolescents to have chest pains. Probably 10% or fewer of the teenagers coming to our clinic each year have significant heart disease."

Chest pain is one of the most common complaints in this age group. Ninety percent of such cases are related to changes in the musculoskeletal system.

"In very rare instances is chest pain related to the heart in a teenager," Daniels notes, adding that a thorough exam or an elactrocardiogram (EKG) is recommended to rule out potentially serious cardiac conditions. Exams usually can rule out major problems in a patient with heart palpitations, or feelings of the heart beating forcefully. Palpitations are not a serious concern for most adolescents. An EKG or heart monitoring equipment used at home generally can determine the reason for the palpitations. …

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