Treatment will vary, depending on the underlying cause of your chest pain.
Drugs used to treat some of the most common causes of chest pain include:
- Artery relaxers. Nitroglycerin — usually taken as a tablet under the tongue — relaxes heart arteries, so blood can flow more easily through the narrowed spaces. Some blood pressure medicines also relax and widen blood vessels.
- Clot-busting drugs. If you are having a heart attack, you may receive drugs that work to dissolve the clot that is blocking blood from reaching your heart muscle.
- Blood thinners. If you have a clot in an artery feeding your heart or lungs, you'll be given drugs that inhibit blood clotting — to help prevent more clots from forming.
- Antacids. If your chest pain is caused by stomach acid splashing up your esophagus, the doctor may suggest medications that reduce the amount of acid in your stomach.
- Anti-anxiety drugs. If you are experiencing panic attacks, your doctor may prescribe anti-anxiety drugs to help control your symptoms.
Surgical and other procedures
Procedures used to treat some of the most dangerous causes of chest pain include:
Dec. 01, 2011
- Balloons and stents. If your chest pain is caused by a blockage in an artery feeding your heart, doctors insert narrow tubing into a large blood vessel in your groin and then thread it up to the blockage. They then deploy a balloon to reopen the artery. In many cases, a small wire mesh tube (stent) is inserted to keep the artery open.
- Bypass surgery. During this procedure, surgeons take a blood vessel from another part of your body and use it to create an alternative route for blood to go around the blocked artery.
- Dissection repair. You may need emergency surgery to repair an aortic dissection — a life-threatening condition that can result in the rupture of the artery that carries blood from your heart to the rest of your body.
- Lung reinflation. If you have a collapsed lung, doctors may insert a tube in your chest, which allows the lung to reinflate.
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