Chest pain made worse by breathing can have various causes, ranging in severity from 'needs attention' to 'life-threatening'. Finding the true cause means ruling out or confirming each possibility – in other words, diagnosis.
Diagnosis is usually a complex process due to the sheer number of possible causes and related symptoms. In order to diagnose chest pain made worse by breathing, we could:
|Possible Urgent Medical Need||20%||Unlikely|
|Pulmonary Embolism||1%||Ruled out|
|Valley Fever (Coccidioidomycosis)||0%||Ruled out|
If you are experiencing chest pain, how is it affected by breathing?
Possible responses:→ Don't know
→ The pain is unrelated to breathing
→ It is worse only when I breathe in deeply
→ It is worse only when I breathe out deeply
→ It is worse when I breathe in or out
The sensation of a "catch" at the end of a deep breath is clinically important as a symptom of pulmonary embolism (a clot to the lung). This requires immediate evaluation by a physician.
Pain in the chest on deep breathing (pleurisy) is experienced by some 45% of lupus patients.
The hallmark of pleurisy is severe chest pain that starts suddenly. Often strong or stabbing when taking a deep breath or coughing, the pain usually subsides or disappears between breaths, and it is usually felt on one side of the stomach area or lower chest.
The pain of lobar pneumonia often begins as a general sense of pressure and aching, usually localized to one side of the chest. The pain begins around the time of the chills heralding the onset of the infection. Later, as the process affects the pleura (tissues around the lung), pleuritic pain develops. Patients with atypical pneumonia or bronchopneumonia may complain of a central burning sensation provoked by coughing.