Precordial Pain: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment and Prevention

The term comes from the Latin praecordia and refers to the anterior region of the chest.

Precordial pain is the pain located in the precordial region, felt on the left side of the chest; it is located right in front of the heart.

Whether it develops as seizures or continuously, chest pain is localized in this part of the body.

People should always take note and seek urgent medical opinions for this.

Causes of precordial pain

Chest pain can be a symptom of several severe conditions and is generally considered a medical emergency.

Although it can be determined that the pain is not cardiac in origin, this is often a diagnosis of exclusion made after ruling out more severe causes of the pain.

This pain may not mean anything, but it can also be a symptom of an underlying medical condition.


The first appearance of precordial chest pain was recorded in 1955.

Although it may seem similar to the pain caused by a heart attack, this condition is harmless and is not threatening.

Some people describe the pain as sharp and intense, but others may feel a dull, lingering ache.

Unlike chest pain from a heart attack, the pain is localized to the chest and does not radiate to the arm.

The onset is sudden and can last only a few seconds up to 30 minutes.

There are cases where an individual may feel that prolonged pain may continue after the initial pain subsides.

This condition is also known as precordial capture syndrome.

Most incidences of precordial chest pain occur when the individual is inactive or in a state of rest.

Some people may experience this pain when sitting, lying down, or suddenly changing positions.

How often the pain is felt varies from person to person.

Some may experience it multiple times in a day, but some may have precordial chest pain once or twice a month.

The precordium

The precordium is the part of the body above the heart and the lower part of the chest.

It is located on the left side of the chest and produces a dull sound to percussion.

If the percussion of the precordium produces a resonant sound, it may mean that the person has a tension pneumothorax or emphysema.

Causes of precordial pain

Although the exact cause of precordial chest pain, it is believed to result from mild compression of the nerve and a spasm of the muscle fibers in the intercostal spaces in the chest wall.

Chest pain usually goes away once the affected muscles relax.

Some factors considered involved in the development of chest pain are stress, anxiety, and poor posture.

Of course, the most serious of these pains are due to coronary artery disease.

In other words, chest pain may be due to angina pectoris.

Pericarditis, an inflammation of the pericardium, the membrane surrounding the heart, can also cause chest pain.

In the same way, so can pulmonary embolisms and even extrathoracic problems, such as some rheumatic diseases or the gastrointestinal tract.


One of the other symptoms of precordial chest pain is a cracking or popping sensation in the chest each time a person inhales or exhales.

Some may even report feeling a tearing sensation every time they try to take a deep breath.

The sensation can last from a few seconds to 30 minutes, although most of these only last a few minutes.

Other symptoms that may be experienced include:

  • Pallor.
  • Dizziness
  • Facial redness
  • Blurry vision.
  • Temporary loss of vision
  • Palpitations in the heart.
  • The sensation of “tingling” on the skin.
  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Even a temporary loss of consciousness.

Diagnosis of chest pain

Differential diagnosis and evaluation of chest pain are sometimes challenging.

One reason for this is that there are no objective signs to help make the diagnosis, and one has to rely entirely on the pain itself.

Consequently, you must be sure that you are getting a detailed statement regarding all factors related to pain.

Furthermore, all pain in the precordial region has the exact mechanism; consequently, regardless of the cause, it is precisely the same and can have the same distribution and character.

An accurate description of the pain is essential in the patient’s medical history.

A physical exam will also be done to identify any other symptoms present in the patient.

Many things cause pain in this region if it affects this same reflex arc, and the cause of the fundus must be determined.

The characteristics of precordial chest pain are similar to those of a heart attack, so it is essential to properly diagnose this condition to provide peace of mind to the patient.

An additional laboratory test, such as an electrocardiogram, may be ordered to identify any changes in the patient’s cardiac status.

Treatment of chest pain

The use of medications in the treatment of precordial chest pain is not practical due to the duration of the pain.

Pain can be controlled by breathing lightly while lying face down on the bed.

If a muscle spasm causes the pain, taking several deep breaths may ease the pain.

It is essential to report any chest pain to the doctor for evaluation and differentiate it from an actual heart attack.


The appearance of precordial chest pain is more common in individuals who have a sedentary or inactive lifestyle.

It can be minimized by exercising or participating in sports. Stress and anxiety also contribute to this condition.

Minimizing stress by doing relaxing activities will help prevent chest pain.