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Chest pain

Most chest pain is not a sign of anything serious but you should get medical advice just in case. Get immediate medical help if you think you're having a heart attack.

Common causes of chest pain

Chest pain has many different causes. In most cases, chest pain is not caused by a heart problem.

Your symptoms might give you an idea of the cause. Don't self-diagnose – see a GP if you're worried.

Chest pain and heart problems

The most common heart problems that cause chest pain include:

  • pericarditis – which usually causes a sudden, sharp, stabbing pain that gets worse when you breathe deeply or lie down
  • angina or a heart attack – which have similar symptoms but a heart attack is life-threatening

You're more likely to have heart problems if you're older or know you're at risk of coronary heart disease.

For example, if you: