View Full Version : Sharp chest pains, need advice. Does anyone get this?

08-01-2010, 09:05 PM
Since I was 19 years old (I am now 26), I go through times of sharp chest pains on the left side of my chest around my heart. The piercing pain can be sudden or it can come and go for weeks at a time. It is VERY sharp and usually hurts worse with deep breaths and is severe when I bend over. I have been to the ER, clinics and seen my PCP for it. All that had been done is EKG’s which were all normal, and a chest Xray( when I was 19).

Sometimes it is debilitating where I can hardly move for hours because of the sharp pain and other times it just hurts when I bend over, or breath deep. These episodes happen about 2 times a year, lasting about 6 weeks. I am in limbo and not sure if it is MS or lupus but thinking lupus because of my other symptoms- raynauds, joint pain, numbness and tingling in hands, feet and head, 3 miscarriages. My scalp sometimes gets red hot and sore, and I have had 2 mris that were normal. My ANA was 1:80 and i am waiting for my next flair to get it checked again.

Does anyone else get these pains? I know something needs to be done about this but I am not sure where to begin. Any suggestions on what I can do for this? My pcp said that VIT D deficiency can cause chest pains but my levels are 60,000, so I know that’s not the problem. I just finished an episode of this about a month ago and would like a “game plan” in place the next time it happens. Thanks for the help, Mary.

08-01-2010, 09:33 PM
Hi Mary,

Your chest pain may be a condition called Costochondritis. It's an inflammation of the cartilage/soft connective tissue of the ribcage. It can happen in the middle of the chest around the Sternum, and in other areas where the ribs transition from solid bone to flexible cartilage and connective tissue. The inflammation can cause sharp, severe pain. Enough to make you involuntarily wince. It's basically a benign condition, but the pain can be severe, leading some to believe that they are having a heart attack. It is a common problem for many people who live with various autoimmune disorders. Have you ever talked to a Rheumotologist about this symptom?


08-01-2010, 11:04 PM
By the way, welcome to WHL Mary.

Angel Oliver
08-02-2010, 11:47 AM
Welcome Mary and i think Rob has given you a good response. I also lately have suffered with chest pains and am waiting to see a cardiologist.Could be just stress with me,but its bad when it happens and can last a while.Do what Rob says and ask your doc about that condition.Keep us updated.

08-02-2010, 11:59 AM
... and get your blood sugar levels and thyroid thoroughly checked... any pleurisy or similar before?...

08-02-2010, 08:01 PM
Thanks everone! Yeah, I have had costochondritis before and it does hurt. I know when I have that when I press on my chest and it hurts. This last year though when I have chest pains my chest muscles dont hurt when I press on them. I dont have a rheumy, mainly seeing a neurologist and my pcp. There is not a rheumatologist where I live. I think the next time it happens I will go to my doc and suggest that a ecg be done. I am not sure what else to have them check for. Oh, and my thyroid and blood surar are fine. Just a slightly elevated ANA and rheumatiod factor. The next time I have a flair we are going to check my ANA and see what it is, I have never had it checked during a flair. Thanks for your help! Mary

09-17-2010, 08:58 PM
I too have constant chest pains. I first started having problems in January of 2008 with kidney failure but tested negative for Lupus. In June of 2009 I was admitted to the hospital with pleurisy because the doctors didn't listen when I complained 2 months earlier of chest pain and shortness of breath. Then in January of 2010 another stay at the hospital with pericarditis. I know suffer from stabbing pain in the chest and around the back. Sneezing, yawning and taking a deep breath is unbearable. The doctors are not doing anything to find out what it is. I had an ECG to rule out any problems with the heart. My lungs have some scarring on them but still no one will help me to find out why this is happening. I'm so frustrated and exhausted and just don't know what to do. I've read the replies to the original post and I don't think it is costochondritis. Maybe a side affect to the Cellcept, but not sure.

Would love some feedback and any advise or ideas.

Thanks for reading my long post

09-18-2010, 10:26 AM
Hi Prariegirl;
Unfortunately, Pericarditis and Pleurisy are common symptoms of auto-immune diseases, especially Lupus. Lupus is a disease that causes inflammation throughout the body (muscles, tissues, organs). Pericarditis is inflammation in the pericardum; Pleurisy is inflammation in the sac surrounding the lungs.

There are tests that can be run to determine if inflammation is occurring in your body and tests to determine if an auto-immune disease is causing that inflammation.
I am providing you a list of tests and their reasons. I know that this is lengthy, but I want you to be armed with information so that you can INSIST that the appropriate tests be run (especially since your heart is compromised), and INSIST the proper treatment be started immediately. Get angry, get persistent, get results!!

*Hematocrit (HCT) and hemoglobin (Hgb) counts measure the number and quality of red blood cells. If you have chronic inflammation, the number of red blood cells usually is low.
*White blood cell count (WBC) measures the number of white blood cells.
*Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), also called "sed rate," determines if you have inflammation. The sed rate can measure the amount of inflammation present. The higher the sed rate, the greater the amount of inflammation. As inflammation responds to medication, the sed rate usually goes down. This is an example of a test a doctor might order several times.
*Another test used to measure inflammation is the C-Reactive Protein (CRP) test.
*Salicylate level measures the amount of salicylate in the blood to find out if enough is being absorbed to reduce inflammation. (Salicylate is the main ingredient in aspirin and some other NSAIDs.)
*The immune system is the body's natural defense against foreign invaders, such as bacteria or viruses. Occasionally, the immune system breaks down and loses the ability to distinguish between its own body cells and foreign invaders. When an invader such as a virus enters the body, the virus creates what is called an antigen. The body's immune system fights the antigen by creating an antibody. When the immune system fights against its own body cells, it creates autoantibodies that attack the body itself. Antinuclear antibodies are autoantibodies that react against the nuclei (core) of the body's own cells when these cell parts are mistaken for foreign invaders.
*Rheumatoid factor (RF, Latex) measures whether a certain amount of abnormal antibody called rheumatoid factor is in the blood. The majority of people with rheumatoid arthritis and Lupus ( inflamed joints) have a large amount of rheumatoid factor in their blood.
*The antinuclear antibody test (ANA) detects a group of autoantibodies that are found in most people with lupus and scleroderma and in a few people with rheumatoid arthritis. These autoantibodies react with antigens in the nuclei of cells. The antibodies suggest that an autoimmune illness may be present, although many people test positive and have little evidence of serious disease. *Specific antinuclear antibody tests are helpful in the diagnosis of certain rheumatic diseases that involve abnormalities in the immune system. The names of the following tests are abbreviations of more complicated-sounding tests. The diseases for which they are used include:
>systemic lupus erythematosus (multiple-system illness, may involve the skin, joints, kidney, etc.); anti-dsDNA, anti-Sm, anti-Ro/SS-A, and antihistone tests help confirm the diagnosis.
>scleroderma (a marked thickening of the skin); the anti-Scl-70 test helps confirm the diagnosis.
>polymyositis (inflammation of muscles, resulting in muscle weakness, sometimes with joint inflammation); anti-Jo-l and anti-PM-l tests may help confirm the diagnosis.
>Sjogren's syndrome (disorder marked by dry eyes and dry mouth); anti-Ro/SS-A and anti-La/SS-B tests may help confirm the diagnosis.
>mixed connective tissue disease (a syndrome with a variety of symptoms, including joint inflammation and swollen fingers); the anti-Ul RNP test helps confirm the diagnosis.
Urine Tests

Please let us know how things go with your doctor(s). I wish you the very best.

Peace and Blessings

09-23-2010, 04:18 PM
I was diagnosed with Lupus in June and essentially spent most of July, August and September in and out of the hospital with chest pain. Mine is also stabbing and wraps around my chest under my breast line and squeezes. I'll end up barely being able to breath. The first time they admitted me and just before sending me home, my pcp came in (there had been confusion about who was my doctor -- imagine confusion in a hospital!) and said I had to have a CAT scan before I left. I ended up having two blood clots in my lung. Praise God for that save! Next time I was treated with antianxiety drugs and morphine and another CAT scan. No more blood clots but I wasn't told that the pain and shortness of breath lasts much longer than just the blood clots. Third time (all within two months), I was sure I was dying. I couldn't get my breath and the pain was unbelievable. I was admitted again and this time they did an endoscopy and found that my esophogus was severly swollen from thrush caused by my Prednisone. I don't have an answer for you since we're all different in this disease but since my diagnosis, I no longer let anyone treat me like everything's in my head. Especially when it comes to chest pains. One word of advice from my stupidity. Either take a cab or call 911 when this happens. I drove myself every time and that was DUMB! The second time I was actually hullucinating during the drive. Don't drive sick!