Chest pain

How bad does chest pain need to become before you seek medical help?

I'm in AF 24/7 and regularly get mild/moderate pain along with all the other usual AF symptoms, but last night the pain in my chest was quite uncomfortable and worried me slightly. The pain has now gone and i feel ok.

I have no other heart related issues except my af.

If I went to A & E everytime I'd be in there every week! So I was just wondering what people think.

19 Replies

  • This is a difficult question. Some would say ANY chest pain needs investigation but I do understand that some people can tell the difference between indigestion and heart attack. Not everybody has pain with AF but for the unfortunate who do this is a double problem.

    You really need to discuss with your medical team but from my own point of view, any pain which extends into the neck or left arm needs urgent investigation. My own recent experience shows that doctors do not mess around in such cases even though extensive testing (Angiogram and echo-cardiogram ) showed no subsequent reason for such pain.

    Better to be a nuisance than not be at all.

  • Thanks Bob, your advice is always appreciated. I'm always reluctant to go to hospital because it's always such a farce!

    I'm on the waiting list for a 2nd ablation so hopefully shouldn't have to wait too long now

  • Hi, I'm also in persistent and sometimes get chest discomfort. Before diagnosis, I went to A & E quite a few times due to chest pain and it always turned out fine after having an ECG, blood tests etc. They said it was 'just' anxiety, but it may have been the beginning of my AF but never picked up.

    If the pain was more severe than normal and lasted longer I would definitely go to A&E. The doctors always said to me that I was never wasting their time; it's better to be safe than sorry.

    Hope this helps

  • If your GP could arrange fairly speedily for you to be loaned a hand held monitor, you would be able to take a reading when you have chest pain and see if there is something visible in the graph. With an ablation coming up, it could be pointless to buy one!

  • Thanks for the advice Rellim, but what kind of hand held monitor do you mean?

  • There's Kardia which attaches to a smartphone, but I was thinking of something like an Omron HCG-801 which I think can be issued to patients to use when appropriate. It just does a simple 30 second ECG. Small enough to fit in a pocket and easy to use, it will do an instant recording.

  • Oh thanks for that, I'll ask about this device

  • It saves the bother of going to get a proper ECG and arriving when the weird rhythm or the pain has died down and nothing shows up.

  • My rhythm is always weird! 24/7!

  • But you don't always have chest pain. Is there some association between the pain and your heartbeat or is the pain something different?

  • No I don't always have the chest pain, this usually occurs when I've over exerted myself or are particularly stressed and tired

  • If the pain is related to a heart problem, I would feel that an expert eye might see some indication in a graph from an ECG, even a simple one like a pocket monitor generates.

  • I know, and in my million previous ECGs ive had (joke) there is no evidence, hence my reluctance to visit A&E with anything​ related to AF.

  • Perhaps your pain isn't heart related at all.

  • Just a long shot, but I've had chest pains many times, and been to A&E with it, it really felt what I imagine a herat attack to feel like. But always found it to be digestive. I could always tell because if I drank some water it would eventually go away. Never had pains in my left arm. Mine was nearly always evening/nighttime, hours after eating.

    Are the occurences linked to any particular time of day, after eating etc.


  • The pain is worse at night and first thing in the morning, usually after a stressful day when I've been rushing around at work.

  • If you have pain for over 20 minutes you should go to A & E, so I was told by my GP who was quite grumpy because I did not want to go. In the end I was given the all clear and I wouldn't go to hospital with chest pain combined with AF again unless I felt extremely ill. Certainly discuss with someone as Bob says.

  • The amount of times i been told that any pain i have with AF is not to do with the AF but is indigestion are too countless to imagine. When I start an AF attack my whole body feels as though a fire is starting in it which gradually creeps to all extremities and then eventually settles in my upper left chest as a dull varied pain. Also I desperately need to go to the bathroom!! This definitely does not happen if i have a bout of indigestion!!! With all the advice about going to A&E if you have pain i have decided to buy a monitor and next time I'm determined to sit this thing out at home!!!

  • It's a difficult decision to make isn't it.

    Do I, don't I go, should I, shouldn't I go. With the differing advice from medics, the decision is a difficult one!

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