Chest Pain Cause Cardiopulmonary

People often dismiss chest pain. Chest pain caused by heartburn, pulled muscles and bruised ribs is, after all, quite common. Many people think it would be embarrassing to run to the doctor every time they felt a chest pain.

While it might be embarrassing to mistake indigestion for a heart attack, medical professionals agree that when it comes to chest pain, it’s far better to be safe than sorry. After all, cardiopulmonary causes of chest pain are often life-threatening. (Cardiopulmonary describes conditions that affect the heart and lungs).

Dismissing chest pain caused by a heart attack, pulmonary embolism or aortic dissection can be a fatal mistake. Each year, people die because they try to withstand chest pain or are too embarrassed to seek medical help. From the medical community’s perspective, chest pain causes should always be checked out and identified as soon as they start.

Cardiopulmonary causes of chest pain range in severity. Some causes of chest pain are always emergencies: A heart attack is a classic example. Other cardiopulmonary causes of chest pain, such as pneumothorax (a collapsed lung) may or may not be life-threatening but should always receive medical attention.

In this section, we’ll discuss the cardiopulmonary causes of chest pain and will outline their symptoms, causes, treatment options and more.

Heart Attack

Most people think of heart attacks when they think of chest pain. Yet a surprising number of people attempt to ignore the sudden and persistent chest pain that often accompanies heart attacks.

Ignoring heart attack chest pain is often fatal. The sooner heart attack treatment begins, the greater your chance of survival. Delaying heart attack treatment by even an hour can affect survival rates.

Not all heart attacks cause chest pain however. You should be aware of heart attack symptoms other than chest pain. Anxiety, fatigue and even abdominal pains can occur with heart attacks.

Pulmonary Embolism

A pulmonary embolism is a blood clot that lodges in a blood vessel in the lung. This causes severe chest pain and impairs lung function.

Like a heart attack, the risk of death from pulmonary embolism increases without prompt medical attention. A pulmonary embolism can cause permanent lung damage and, left untreated, death. Luckily, treatment and prevention options exist for pulmonary embolism.

Aortic Dissection

An aortic dissection is one of the rarer cardiopulmonary causes of chest pain, which is fortunate, as the condition is a life-threatening emergency.

An aortic dissection can cause the aorta to rupture. The aorta is the large artery that channels oxygen-rich blood from the heart. Capable of causing excruciating chest pain, emergency aortic dissection treatment is required to avoid artery rupture and death.


Hemothorax describes bleeding into the chest cavity. It is a relatively common cause of chest pain and most often results from chest trauma. Many patients with hemothorax will also have a collapsed lung (or pneumothorax). Depending on the trauma, hemothorax can be life-threatening.


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Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (September 28, 2007). Pulmonary Embolism. Retrieved November 8, 2007, from the Mayo Web site: