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Causes of nontraumatic chest pain in children and adolescents

Robert L Geggel, MD
Erin E Endom, MD
Section Editors
David R Fulton, MD
Gregory Redding, MD
Jan E Drutz, MD
Gary R Fleisher, MD
Deputy Editor
James F Wiley, II, MD, MPH


Chest pain is a common presenting complaint in children. Although the etiology is benign in most cases, this symptom may lead to school absences and/or restriction of activities and causes considerable anxiety in patients and their families. A thorough history and physical examination usually can determine the cause and identify patients who require acute intervention and those who can be managed with reassurance and continued follow-up. Laboratory testing is necessary only in a small number of patients [1]. In the absence of associated symptoms of illness, positive findings on physical examination related to the cardiac or respiratory systems, or symptoms during exertion, a serious organic cause is unlikely.

This topic will discuss the causes of nontraumatic chest pain in children and adolescents. The approach to nontraumatic pediatric chest pain, pediatric thoracic trauma, and the emergent evaluation of respiratory distress in children and adolescents, with or without chest pain, is discussed separately:

(See "Nontraumatic chest pain in children and adolescents: Approach and initial management".)

(See "Overview of intrathoracic injuries in children".)

(See "Initial evaluation and stabilization of children with thoracic trauma".)

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Literature review current through: Dec 2017. | This topic last updated: Dec 01, 2016.
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