What Causes Left Chest Pain?

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Chest pain on the left can be caused by myocardial infarction and coronary artery disease, states WebMD. Myocardial infarction is a heart attack, a condition that causes a crushing sensation in the chest along with nausea, sweating and weakness because not enough blood reaches the heart. Coronary artery disease causes a similar pain, called angina, that occurs because a blockage in the blood vessels reduces blood flow.

Because myocardial infarction can prove fatal, those experiencing left chest pain along with a crushing sensation and discomfort that spreads to the left arm, jaw and back, need to call emergency medical services, advises WebMD.

Pericarditis can also cause pain in the left side of the chest, states Mayo Clinic. When the pericardium or membrane surrounding the heart becomes inflamed, pericarditis results. It causes either sharp pain, heart palpitations, a cough, shortness of breath, and weakness or fatigue.

Acute pericarditis, characterized by pain that travels along the left side of the body, can resolve on its own and doesn't often last long, explains Mayo Clinic. Pain relievers, anti-inflammatories and corticosteroids can be used to treat the symptoms. For more severe cases, doctors suggest pericardiocentesis or pericardiectomy. The former uses a small tube to drain the fluid, while the latter removes the pericardium.