Q. Why am I getting upper central chest pains at 3500 m altitude?

Answered by
Dr. Bharat Patodiya
and medically reviewed by Dr.Lekshmipriya B
This is a premium question & answer published on Jun 06, 2017 and last reviewed on: Jan 22, 2022

Hello doctor,

I am a 37-year-old female with a history of asthma and SVT. I am currently at 3500 m altitude, and I am getting upper central chest pain on inhalation, which is much worse going uphill. I do not have any other altitude symptoms or shortness of breath. What could cause this? I am currently taking Levlen and Diamox.



Welcome to

Chest pain could be due to muscular fatigue at high altitudes. Count your pulse properly to rule out SVT (supraventricular tachycardia). I do not think it is SVT, as you appear stable. Check your oxygen saturation also.

Hi doctor,

Thank you for replying. My pulse is regular, and my oxygen saturation is 95. My respirations are increasing while going uphill, and they take a while to settle down. I am supposed to trek up to 5550 m over the next few days. Is it fine for me to continue? Is there anything I can take to help with the pain and increased respirations when going uphill?



Welcome back to

  • I think it is muscular. So, I suggest you try nonsedative muscle relaxant like Tolperisone, thrice a day for five days. Avoid sedative muscle relaxant while trekking.
  • If possible, get a chest x-ray to rule out any chest pathology. Hope you are evaluated for SVT and is appropriately on rate control medication. Because high Levlen (oral contraceptive pills) may increase the heart rate. Avoid beta-blockers.

For more information consult an internal medicine physician online -->

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