Chest pain may be a symptom of a number of serious disorders and is, in general, considered a medical emergency. Even though it may be determined that the pain is noncardiac in origin (does not come from a heart problem), this is often a diagnosis of exclusion made after ruling out more serious causes of the pain. Cardiac (heart-related) chest pain is called angina pectoris.
Chest pain is a common presenting problem, as the following numbers illustrate:
In the US, an estimated 5 million people per year present to the emergency department with chest pain.
More than 50% of people presenting to emergency facilities with unexplained chest pain will have coronary disease ruled out.
1.5 million people are admitted annually for workup of acute coronary syndrome (ACS).
Approximately 8 billion dollars are used annually to evaluate complaints of chest pain.
Children with chest pain account for 0.3% to 0.6% of pediatric emergency department visits
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