ZocdocAnswersThere's a feeling of something stuck in my chest. What should I do?

Question

There's a feeling of something stuck in my chest. What should I do?

Last night I ate fried chicken, and shortly after I felt something "stuck" in my chest. It doesn't hurt or anything, but I can feel it there. I can also eat and drink perfectly fine. I don't think it's serious enough to go to the hospital or anything because I'm having no trouble eating, breathing or drinking. However, whenever I take a deep breath in, it sort of feels like its pushing outward against my chest. I went to sleep thinking it would pass by the time I woke up, but it's still there. I'm drinking a Coke right now in hope that it will help what ever it is to pass down. I have felt it slowly go down my esophagus the more I swallow and drink. Should I just continue doing what I'm doing? Or is there something else I can do to help this thing pass down to my stomach?

Answer

Thank you for your question. In order to provide an accurate recommendation, I would need more information. I would need to know the full details of your medical history and also perform a thorough physical exam. In addition, you may need additional testing, such as a chest x-ray. Only after collecting this information would it be possible to provide an answer. Therefore, I strongly encourage you to see a primary care physician for further evaluation. In your situation, it is certainly possible you have a piece of food, perhaps a chicken bone, stuck in your esophagus or airway. The fact that you can still eat, drink, and breathe without difficulty does not rule this out. In some cases, this can be seen on chest x-ray. However, if something is identified, you may require a procedure to remove it. Often, this requires a procedure called a rigid bronchoscopy. A long tube with a camera on the end is inserted into either your airways or your esophagus, and various tools can be advanced through this to retrieve the item. If the primary care physician feels this is a possibility, you may be instructed to go to the emergency room. I strongly encourage you to discuss these possibilities with a primary care physician.

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

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.