What is chest burning?

A burning feeling in the chest is a common symptom of heart conditions, lung problems, gastrointestinal disorders, or even a panic attack. Chest burning can result from heart pain due to lack of blood flow or spasm, pain in the esophagus from heartburn, lung pain due to inflammation or infection, or musculoskeletal pain in the chest area.

Chest Problems Spotlight

Heart conditions, such as angina, pericarditis, or heart attack, are common causes of a burning sensation in the chest. Other causes include pulmonary embolism (blockage in a blood vessel in the lungs), which reduces blood flow to the lungs and leads to feelings of chest burning and pain. Pleurisy (inflammation of the lining around the lungs) may also cause a burning sensation in the chest.

Heartburn can lead to chest burning, especially in severe cases such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Less often, chest burning is a symptom of asthma or anxiety attacks. It is also possible to experience chest burning as a result of rib fractures or any other injury to the chest area.

Chest burning can be a sign of a serious condition. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you experience chest burning along with shortness of breath, rapid heart rate, loss of consciousness, or severe trauma to chest. Seek prompt medical care if your chest burning is persistent or causes you concern.

SYMPTOMS

What other symptoms might occur with chest burning?

Chest burning may accompany other symptoms, which vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition. Conditions that cause chest burning may also cause symptoms in other body systems.... Read more about chest burningsymptoms

CAUSES

What causes chest burning?

Chest burning may be caused by cardiac and pulmonary circulation disorders that reduce or block blood flow through the arteries that supply oxygen to heart and lungs. Gastrointestinal disorders are also common causes of chest burning. Such disorders maybe caused by gastric acid from the stomach and, sometimes, bile contents entering the esophagus, resulting in heartburn and indigestion. Chest burning can also be the result of trauma or injury to the musculoskeletal structures of the chest area.... Read more about chest burningcauses

Medical Reviewer: All content has been reviewed by board-certified physicians under the direction of Rich Klasco, M.D., FACEP. Last Annual Review Date: May 2, 2011 Copyright: © Copyright 2011 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.