What is chest pain?

Chest pain is a common reason that a child would see a pediatric cardiologist (heart doctor). Chest pain can be any type of discomfort in the chest. Unlike adults, chest pain in children is rarely caused by a problem with the heart.

Chest pain feels different for everyone. For some, it might feel like a sharp pain, burning pain or a dull, aching pain. For others, it might feel like tightness or pressure.

My child has chest pain. When should I call the doctor?

If your child has chest pain, first contact your pediatrician (PCP). Your PCP will evaluate your child for common causes of chest pain, such as musculoskeletal problems, reflux or lung problems. Your child’s primary care doctor might refer them to see a pediatric cardiologist. This is especially true if your child has chest pain with activity, like sports, that gets better when they rest.

If your child has chest pain with other symptoms like trouble breathing, fainting or fast or irregular heartbeat, call 911 or take they to the closest emergency room.

Rev. 11/2017. MassGeneral Hospital for Children and Massachusetts General Hospital do not endorse any of the brands listed on this handout. This handout is intended to provide health information so that you can be better informed. It is not a substitute for medical advice and should not be used to treatment of any medical conditions.