The most common cause of sudden sharp stabbing chest pain in adults and children is pericardial catch syndrome (PCS), also known as texidors twinge. The stabbing pain is predominantly felt on the left side of the chest, where the heart is located and worsens when a person takes a deep breathe.
Many people mistakenly believe that they are having a cardiac attack at the onset of this type of pain. While the pain is acute and typically felt in the area where the heart is situated, this condition is certainly not a cardiac attack, nor is it related to cardiovascular disease. Pain due to PCS is localized and does not radiate to other parts of the body like heart attack typically does. Sharp inhaling and exhaling often intensifies the pain. Typically this causes the patient to become immobilized or restrict its activities until the episode passes away. Episodes typically last for 30 seconds to three minutes. The frequency of episodes varies from patient to patient. Intensity of pain also varies from dull annoying pain to intense pain causing brief vision loss or blurred vision. Although deep breathing during PCS attack intensifies the pain, many have found that deep breathing or sudden movement completely resolves PCS attack.
It is believed that PCS is caused by pinching of a nerve and may be due to spasm of intercostals muscle fiber. There is also co-relation of PCS to stress and anxiety. PCS attack happen most often while sitting or lying down, and being inactive.
At present there is no cure for PCS. Doctors believe that PCS is benign condition and posses no danger to patient’s health. Therefore, PCS is not seen as problem. Perhaps the worst part about PCS is the apprehension that this chest pain is an indicator of cardiac attack or angina, or other serious life threatening condition.
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