By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The question comes up quite a bit. What should I do if I have chest pain and feel otherwise fine? There is no radiation to the jaw or any of those classic signs and there is no shortness of breath.
Many people are faced with this decision every day and I consistently say the same thing which is to go to the doctor and have it checked out.
Yes, there are many reasons for chest pain that are not associated with a heart attack but you are playing Russian roulette if you think you can wait it out or avoid being seen. I can tell you that when someone comes to the office complaining of chest pain we do not take anything for granted. We routinely do EKGs and check blood work.
Our physical exams can help but we need tests to evaluate fully, and in those cases where there are suspicions we do cardiac catheterizations, echocardiograms and anything necessary. Why? Because once heart tissue is damaged, we can’t repair it.
So, the answer to the question is to always get it checked out.