ZocdocAnswersIs the pain in the right side of my chest due to a problem with my heart?

Question

Is the pain in the right side of my chest due to a problem with my heart?

There is a strange, achy feeling in the right side of my chest. Sometimes it gets worse if I take a very deep breath. Does this mean that something is wrong with my heart? What else might be causing my chest pain?

Answer

The type of pain that you are describing is probably not a pain coming from your heart. The reason I say this is that since the heart is on the left side of the chest, pain that originates from the heart usually stays on that side. Plus, chest pain that gets worse with taking a deep breath is usually not pain coming from the heart. The only exception to this rule is pain that comes from pericarditis, a condition of inflammation in the outer sac surrounding the heart. The pain you are experiencing sounds like pleuritic pain. This is pain that comes from the outer lining of the lungs. Conditions such as pleuritis or pleurisy can cause this type of pain. This is just inflammation of this outer lining. If you are also experiencing shortness of breath and fever, then pneumonia might be a cause of this pain. Finally, if you have recently experienced trauma to your chest, then deep breathing can be painful (especially if you broke or bruised a rib). Your next best move should be to schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. He or she can listen to the details of your symptoms and perform a thorough physical exam. More than likely, the only treatment you will need (if you do just have pleurisy) is an anti-inflammatory medication.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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