23 year old, burning left upper abdominal, chest, shoulder and arm pain and pressure

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Hi everyone. I am a 23 year old female with a history of high blood pressure. I am on 25 mg of losartan for it. I've had upper abdominal and chest pressure solely on the left side and pain for about the past month now. Sometimes the pain is burning and tearing in nature. It is really bad tonight. It has kind of hurt to breathe in this whole time. I had a bout of this a year ago and was diagnosed with costochondritis. I don't remember it being this bad. I don't remember exactly if it ever went away completely before this second bout, but I do know it couldn't have been as bad as it currently is or I wouldn't have been able to function. I have this fear that its a thoracic aortic aneurysm or dissection. Also intermittently for the past few years, I have gotten this pinching feeling in the left side of my chest that lasts for maybe about 10 minutes per episode. No relation to physical activity or anything like that. I've always just assumed it was a muscle spasm. I've seen a cardiologist and all the tests were normal (ECG, 24 hour holter monitor, and blood tests). For my recent month-long flare of pain, I've seen a doctor and had a chest x-ray performed and blood work which were all normal. I still can't shake this feeling that something is wrong because I am so uncomfortable, and it seems to have moved up more closer to my throat in addition to being in my chest. I also am burping all the time and just feel full in my chest and like I have a globus sensation in my throat. Surely something like an aortic aneurysm would have been caught in the tests they ran, but I did not have a CT or echocardiogram done which would have for sure ruled one out. I'm probably just being a hypochondriac, but I am very uncomfortable and all the doctors do is just keep prescribing me corticosteroids, which don't seem to help. Has anyone else experienced symptoms like these?

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  • Posted

    I had a thoracic aneursym and never knew I had it until I dissected. aneursyms are normally painless and are usually symptomless.

    aortic dissection is painful - some say terribly painful although it was not terribly painful for me - and if you had had a undetected dissection of the ascending aorta (referred to as a Type A aortic dissection) a month ago it is extremely unlikely that you would still be above ground now. they are normally fatal if not repaired surgically right away.

    a normal x ray will not detect an aortic dissection. you would need a CT scan with contrast (so my cardiovascular surgeon told me) or an ultrasound of the aorta in order to detect it. I'm not sure if an aneursym can be detected via a regular x ray of not.

    listen to your doctor. if it still worries you. if suggest a second opinion or discuss 2ith your doctor what he/she thinks about scheduling you for a CT with contrast of the chest or an ultrasound of the ascending aorta.

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  • Posted

    Hi Regina,

    I too have had a thoracic aortic aneurysm although in my case it had ruptured several years before detection but the rupture was contained by scar tissue within my chest from previous surgery, a sort of pocket of blood. This is known as a pseudo thoracic aortic aneurysm. I had no symptoms and this was picked up by a CT scan whilst I was having investigations related to an unrelated chest infection.

    My cardiac surgeon, Mr Field at Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital (a great guy!), said it urgently needed attention and that if left it would probably have emerged as a lump on my chest as the pocket enlarged and poked between my ribs. The danger then was that some bright spark in A&E would lance the bulge and then it would have been "Good Night Vienna"!

    So, yes, if I were you I would push for a CT scan with contrast ... pronto. However from what you have said about your symptoms, has anyone mentioned the possibility of a hiatus hernia? Search for "hiatus hernia symptoms", they sound very like what you are experiencing.

    Hope that help.



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  • Posted

    Why are they prescribing you corticosteroids ? Like Phil my first thought was hiatus hernia.

    Take heart from the fact that 50% of people who go to hospitals with chest pain it is not heart related.

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  • Posted

    Hello and sorry that you are experiencing the pain and discomfort you described. You must be so scared. My first inclination would be to tell you to seek your answers from a physician in the emergency room or your general practitioner. I would not wait for answers in this type of forum because we have all had different and unique experiences. My thoracic aortic dissection happened suddenly and there was no warning. I bent over to take my dog's leash off when I felt the most excruciating and strange pain in my back between my shoulder blades. It was so bad that I couldn't even move. I looked at my cell phone which was on my night table and stared at it knowing I needed to get help. The pain only gets worse. I did make it to the ER and was misdiagnosed the first time. Was told my gallbladder needed to be removed. (which I did have removed..it had 3 stones in it and was not infected or inflamed). Then one month later the same back pain returned. This time I was properly diagnosed. I had dissected distal to the subclavian artery down to my kidneys. Emergently had TEVAR to repair me and I am fine now. (2 year survivor next month). Do get another opinion if you are still in pain. The CTA scan saved my life.

    Best wishes to you!

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  • Posted

    hi i was reading your post & had only just stumbled some info less than 30 minutes ago while looking up something similar - they said if a person is young & has symptoms similar to the AAA its usually something called Marfan syndrome- i thought i would share it with you- if you feel like something is wrong, always trust yourself! There are a few other conditions they mention too in regards to younger people with symptoms such as yours- maybe its nothing - but maybe it is something that because you kept searching, you find out young enough to do something about it - Good Luck!

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