When Your Child Has Chest Pain - Nemours Blog


When Your Child Has Chest Pain

When Your Child Complains of Chest Pain by Thomas Craig Edwards, MD | Promise, powered by Nemours Children's Health

When your child complains of chest pain, it’s natural to jump to heart-related conclusions. But most cases of chest pain in children aren’t caused by cardiac conditions.

It can sometimes be hard to get a clear description of your child’s chest pain, but symptoms usually include:

  • Tightness.
  • Discomfort.
  • Burning sensation.
  • Pain when taking deep breaths.
  • Coughing.
  • Wheezing.

So what should you do? Make an appointment with your child’s primary care physician, and keep in mind that chest pain in children is usually not heart-related. Chest pain can often be attributed to one or more of the following:

  • Gastroesophogeal reflux disease, or ongoing heartburn
  • Pain or inflammation in the chest wall
  • Asthma
  • Pneumonia
  • Stress or anxiety
  • Injury
  • Viral illness

Heading to the hospital is absolutely necessary in some situations. Seek emergency care if:

  • Exercise brings about chest pain, or makes it worse.
  • Chest pain occurs with rapid or irregular heartbeat.
  • Fainting or passing out occurs with chest pain.
  • Your child has a tall slender physique with long arms, hands, fingers, legs, feet and toes.
  • You know of or suspect any drug use.
  • There’s a family history of early sudden cardiac death.


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