Study: Children’s Chest Pain Rarely A Heart Problem

Medical Malpractice Mistakes

A study published in the journal Pediatrics looked at the records over 3,700 children over age six who came to the Children’s Hospital Boston for chest pain evaluations. Out of all those evaluations, only one-percent actually had an underlying heart condition. In fact, not a single child had died from an underlying cardiac cause during the ten-year period the study looked at. This is a fairly well-known statistic, as previous numbers of sudden death from cardiac arrest is not more than 6 deaths per 100,000; the majority were sport-related.

The lead researcher for the study remarked that the study should be very reassuring, and that “[c]hest pain in children is very common but the chance of a cardiac cause is very low.” Moreover, the researchers noted that generally a physical exam, family history evaluation, and an electrocardiogram could be used to figure out if children need more extensive procedures to get to the cause of the chest pain.

One statistic which was a little disturbing, even though it was not dangerous, was that in fifty-two percent of the cases the cause of pain could not be pinpointed. Again, only one-percent of chest pain was actually a cardiac issue-and most were from sports-but this is still scary that as a parent, that your child has chest pain and a team of physicians and expensive equipment cannot tell you what is wrong. But in the remaining participants, most of the chest pain for the children evaluated was musculoskeletal such as respiratory and gastrointestinal conditions, and even anxiety.

In the end, the study noted that “[c]hest pain in children does not represent the same disease as chest pain in adults does.” While we are trained to immediately be nervous when we or other older people suffer from chest pain, this study should make us feel much more comfortable.

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