Severity Of Chest Pain

What Causes Severe Chest Pain?

Severe chest pain can have various causes, ranging in severity from 'life-threatening' to 'generally fatal'.  Finding the true cause means ruling out or confirming each possibility – in other words, diagnosis.

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Diagnosis is usually a complex process due to the sheer number of possible causes and related symptoms.  In order to diagnose severe chest pain, we could:

  • Research the topic
  • Find a doctor with the time
  • Use a diagnostic computer system.
The process is the same, whichever method is used.

Step 1: List all Possible Causes

We begin by identifying the disease conditions which have "severe chest pain" as a symptom.  Here are three possibilities:
  • Possible Urgent Medical Need
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis
  • Cocaine Addiction

Step 2: Build a Symptom Checklist

We then identify all possible symptoms and risk factors of each possible cause, and check the ones that apply:
severe right hypochondriac pain
reduced sense of smell
weak appetite
chronic dry cough
severe right iliac pain
significant neck pain
chest tightness
severe epigastric pain
moderate unexplained weight loss
severe stiff neck
severe abdominal pain
severe right lumbar pain
... and more than 10 others

Step 3: Rule Out or Confirm each Possible Cause

A differential diagnosis of your symptoms and risk factors finds the likely cause of severe chest pain:
Cause Probability Status
Pulmonary Fibrosis 94% Confirm
Possible Urgent Medical Need 27% Unlikely
Cocaine Addiction 5% Ruled out
* This is a simple example to illustrate the process

Arriving at a Correct Diagnosis

The Analyst™ is our online diagnosis tool that learns all about you through a straightforward process of multi-level questioning, providing diagnosis at the end.

If you indicate having chest discomfort, The Analyst™ will ask further questions including this one:
If you experience chest pain, how would you rate its severity?
Possible responses:
→ Not applicable / don't know
→ A minor sensation
→ Significant
→ Very significant
→ Severe, almost unbearable
Based on your response to this question, which may indicate minor chest pain, moderate chest pain, significant chest pain or severe chest pain, The Analyst™ will consider possibilities such as:
Cocaine Addiction

Cocaine induces a feeling of well-being by raising dopamine levels in the brain, but also increases blood pressure and causes blood vessels to contract.  Sometimes the arteries feeding the heart go into spasm, causing the severe chest pains that make users go to hospital.  If the spasms are particularly severe the patients may need drugs such as nitrates to force their vessels open and prevent a heart attack.

Concerned or curious about your health?  Try The Analyst™
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