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My husband is 52 and has been experiencing pain in the lower left side of his rib cage. He said it feels like an injured rib but he hasn't experienced an injury. No nausea, fever or other pain. Some days it is worse than others. He is trying to quit smoking and had a cold. What could this be?

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replied March 8th, 2010
Lungs and Respiratory Disorders Answer A10451
Hi and welcome to the forum! I am glad that I can help you.

You would like to know the reason for the pain that your husband experiences in the lower left side of his rib cage.

Pain in the lower left side of the rib cage may appear due to issues connected with the spleen, heart, hernia, diaphragm or ribs. An enlarged spleen may appear due to infection, splenomegaly(due to erythrocytes destruction), increased portal blood pressure (the blood pressure in the portal vein) or metastasis. A heart attack on the lower side of the heart may be presented as pain in the lower left side of the rib cage. Rupture of the diaphragm and additional diaphragmatic hernia may be presented as pain. Pleuritis (infection of the pleura) may be presented as pain as well. Rib conditions such as fractures, chondritis and tumor ingrowth may be also presented as pain in the rib cage.

Given the data, your husband may or may not be experiencing any of the medical conditions listed above. He may consider seeing his doctor for a complete physical exam to rule out splenomegaly. He should have a complete blood count with differential white blood count, blood sedimentation, and hemoglobin level checked out. He may also need to have an RTG scan of his chest to rule out pleuritis, diaphragmatic and rib conditions. He may consider having an ECG to rule out heart conditions.

Please keep in mind that I provide medical information only. I am not able to diagnose medical conditions online. Please advise your husband to contact his doctor for further advice and information about diagnosis and treatment options.

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