Q. What causes chest discomfort in a patient with anxiety disorder?

Answered by
Dr. Sadaf Mustafa
and medically reviewed by Dr. Divya Banu M
This is a premium question & answer published on May 20, 2019

Hello doctor,

I am a 36-year-old woman with family history of heart disease. For a couple of days, I have been feeling discomfort in my chest, like my heart gets squeezed and I have chest discomfort on the left top part of my chest, like six fingers down my clavicle. I also have a lot of fatigue, specially from 10 AM to 1 PM. The discomfort gets worse when I am laying on my back and I can feel my heart moving in my chest in an unusual way and the squeezing feeling coming and going. I have had anxiety disorder for almost 20 years but this does not feel like my usual anxiety. I am worried and not knowing exactly what to do.

Dr. Sadaf Mustafa

General Medicine Internal Medicine


Welcome to icliniq.com.

Classical cardiac chest pain is a sensation as if an elephant is sitting on your chest. It lasts from a few seconds to minutes and could be provoked by exertion. What you are feeling is classified as atypical chest pain but you also have palpitations. Do you have a way to check your blood pressure and heart rate? Please let me know.

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Thank you doctor,

No. I have no device at home to test my blood pressure and heart rate.

Dr. Sadaf Mustafa

General Medicine Internal Medicine


Welcome back to icliniq.com.

It is a good idea for you to walk into an urgent care and let them check your vitals and get an EKG. Meanwhile, take an Aspirin 81 mg/d. The issue with atypical chest pain is that you cannot rule out 100 % that there is no underlying cardiac pathology until you get EKG and basic blood work.

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