Chest Pain Observation

It is often hard to give a specific diagnosis for the cause of chest pain. Your symptoms had a chance of being caused by inadequate oxygen delivery to your heart (angina). Angina that is not treated or evaluated can lead to a heart attack (myocardial infarction, MI) or death.

Blood tests, electrocardiograms, and X-rays may have been done to help determine a possible cause of your chest pain. After evaluation and observation, your caregiver has determined that it is unlikely your pain was caused by angina. However, a full evaluation of your pain needs to be completed. You need to follow up with caregivers or diagnostic testing as directed. It is very important to keep your follow-up appointments. Not keeping your follow-up appointments could result in permanent heart damage, disability, or death. If there is any problem keeping your follow-up appointments, you must call your caregiver.

HOME CARE INSTRUCTIONS

Due to the slight chance that your pain could be angina, it is important to follow healthy lifestyle habits and follow your caregiver's treatment plan:

  • Maintain a healthy weight.

  • Stay physically active and exercise regularly.

  • Decrease your salt intake.

  • Eat a diet low in saturated fats and cholesterol. Avoid foods fried in oil or made with fat. Talk to a dietician to learn about heart healthy foods.

  • Increase your fiber intake by including whole grains, vegetable, and fruits in your diet.

  • Avoid situations that cause stress, anger, or depression.

  • Take medication as advised by your caregiver. Report any side effects to your caregiver. Do not stop medications or adjust the dosages on your own.

  • Quit smoking. Do not use nicotine patches or gum until you check with your caregiver.

  • Keep your blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels within normal limits.

  • Limit alcohol intake to no more than 1 drink per day for nonpregnant women and 2 drinks per day for men.

  • Stop abusing drugs.

SEEK MEDICAL CARE IF:

You have severe chest pain or pressure which may include symptoms such as:

  • Pain or pressure in the arms, neck, jaw, or back.

  • Profuse sweating.

  • Feeling sick to your stomach (nauseous).

  • Feeling short of breath while at rest.

  • Having a fast or irregular heartbeat.

  • You have chest pain that does not get better after rest or after taking your usual medicine.

  • You wake from sleep with chest pain.

  • You feel dizzy, faint, or experience extreme fatigue.

  • You notice increasing shortness of breath during rest, sleep, or with activity.

  • You are unable to sleep because you cannot breathe.

  • You develop a frequent cough or you are coughing up blood.

  • You have severe back or abdominal pain, are nauseated, or throw up (vomit).

  • You develop severe weakness, dizziness, fainting, or chills.

Any of these symptoms may represent a serious problem that is an emergency. Do not wait to see if the symptoms will go away. Call your local emergency services (911 in the U.S.). Do not drive yourself to the hospital.

MAKE SURE YOU:

  • Understand these instructions.

  • Will watch your condition.

  • Will get help right away if you are not doing well or get worse.