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stabbing pain in chest & palpitations.

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Hi. I've been having stabbing pains in my chest randomly, usually when I stand up, sit down or bend over. It feels like someone is stabbing me in the heart. If I take a deep breath it seems to go away, but then I have a mild ache for a little while. I haven't experienced this the last couple of days but my heart has been racing which has been giving me anxiety. I don't know if there was anxiety about the chest pain which lead to my heart racing or if the anxiety came from my heart racing. Basically I'm just wondering what the chances are that this is a serious problem or if it's harmless. I'd like to also add that I am a smoker but I only smoke 4-5 cigarettes a day. I am 23 and have been smoking less than a year.
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replied January 20th, 2012
Sharp pains in the left chest, sometimes related to position, relieved by taking a deep breath and followed with a mild chest aching may describe a benign syndrome that I have called a "precordial catch." I discuss this syndrome on page 44 of the book I wrote for the laity called "Chest Pain When and When Not to Worry." The book was printed in 2009 by Pelican Press of Gretna, LA.
Please understand that the heart is normally in the middle of the chest, not on the left side. Being aware of one's heart can certainly be a stress symptom. It doesn't sound like you have a serious problem.
The most serious problem you have is smoking cigarettes, and I strongly suggest that you stop.
Please keep in mind that I am unable to diagnose medical conditions online.


An easy-to-read book about the heart for lay persons. Available at major online book retailers and other fine bookstores.
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