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Chest Pain... What is happening to me?

Hi,

I'm a 23 yr old female who was hospitalized in May (07) for a pulmonary embolism.  The cause is unknown - risk factors include estrogen and factor II prothrombin.  Tests in the hospital revealed nothing more than the heterozygous factor II, a slightly elevated thyroid (5.7), and an "inconclusive" anticardiolipin for IgM (14).  IgG was 4.  

The PE was very symptomatic, but since then I've continued to have chest pains. They are short, sharp, and fleeting, and feel as though they are located just underneath my ribs, on both sides (though not usually at the same time).  The pain can last anywhere from a second to 12+ hours at a time, though it is most often intermittent and doesn't stay on for more than 30 minutes at a time.  The only thing that ever seems to reliably bring it on is exercise, but I have pain while at rest, too.  It cannot be reproduced by pressing on my chest.   Sometimes the pain is consistent with breathing in or out, but not always.  I've had two CT scans - the first found my PE; the second, seven weeks later, showed that the clot had resolved with no additional clots appearing.  I've seen a pulmonologist who tells me that if the problem were related to my lungs that it would have shown up on the CT.  Per the recommendation of my hematologist I've tried Prilosec (14 days - no luck) and had an exercise stress test done.  The cardiologist said that my heart looks great  (certainly a relief).  I stopped Coumadin therapy about a month ago.  

In addition to the chest pain, which got a little better for about a month but has been getting worse in the last week, I feel very tired.  Other vague and possibly/probably unrelated symptoms: blood blisters in my mouth, seeing stars, sometimes blurry vision, changes in my sense of smell (it was very sharp right before my PE), memory loss (I've always been a very good speller but within the last month I've been having trouble with even some simple words).  One night I woke up shaking violently, and my boyfriend says I've done it on more than one occasion.  Sometimes my limbs feel very heavy and my body aches.  I'm not sure if it's related, but four years ago I experienced about 9 months of intermittent tingliness and numbness around my shoulder blades and in my back.  On a couple of occasions my arms were completely numb and tingly as well.  This seems to have resolved itself - I haven't experienced the tingliness for about a year now, I'd say... but seeing as this is something that was located in close proximity to the site of my current chest pain, I thought I'd mention it.  The doctor I saw back then was unable to figure it out.  

It has now been suggested on multiple occasions that maybe I have an autoimmune disorder.  I have made an appointment to see a rheumatologist, but the soonest he can see me is in January.  If anyone has any ideas as to what is going on with my body or has experienced anything similar, I'd love to hear from you.

Best,
Erin
5 Responses
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Avatar universal
The chest pain under the ribs and breastbone that you describe sound exactly like Costochondritis, inflammation of cartilage in the ribcage. Jennifer, you described this perfectly, textbook. Mention the term to a pulmonologist,  (I know I spelled that wrong, but lung doctor), for it has very little to do with anything autoimmune related.

The clotting caused by antiphospolipid disorder, from what I understand, would most likely be the root cause for a PE. I also have this disorder, diagnosed about a year ago, but the majority of patients that have APS generally have issues with carrying a child to term, it often is a cause of miscarriages, even into the third trimester. (it is often present in SLE lupus patients). This is something you want to see a rheumatologist for this. Generally the treatment is one baby aspirin per day, although some cases are so severe that the patient must be put on heparin. Obviously, talk to your doctor before you go on an aspirin regimen.

Hope some of this info helps.
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
The chest pain under the ribs and breastbone that you describe sound exactly like Costochondritis, inflammation of cartilage in the ribcage. Jennifer, you described this perfectly, textbook. Mention the term to a pulmonologist,  (I know I spelled that wrong, but lung doctor), for it has very little to do with anything autoimmune related.

The clotting caused by antiphospolipid disorder, from what I understand, would most likely be the root cause for a PE. I also have this disorder, diagnosed about a year ago, but the majority of patients that have APS generally have issues with carrying a child to term, it often is a cause of miscarriages, even into the third trimester. (it is often present in SLE lupus patients). This is something you want to see a rheumatologist for this. Generally the treatment is one baby aspirin per day, although some cases are so severe that the patient must be put on heparin. Obviously, talk to your doctor before you go on an aspirin regimen.

Hope some of this info helps.
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
I am writing this to you all.

I think you all need to be tested properly for APS. This is Anti-Phospolipid Syndrome.
This is a simple bloodtest for ACL, being anticardiolipin, and LA being lupus anticoagulant, two simple blood tests.

Your symptoms, sound very much like Anti-phospolipid syndrome.

APS, is linked very closely to Lupus also,
APS, causes sticky blood, hence why you acquire the bloodclots.

There is a specialist team in London, who deal with this condition, at the highest level.
They also treat it at the highest level also.


Hope this has helped
Nicola
Helpful - 0
1468097 tn?1288056415
I have been have very bad chest pain for exactly 6 months now. I have sharp stabbing pain under both my arm pits and on either side of my lower rib cage but I also have a constant ache in my chest. The Dr.'s can't figure it out either. I am only 28 and I have seen 9 Dr.s in the last year. The pain is just getting worse too. It is hard to walk up and down the stairs and it hurts to lay on my sides. Car rides make me cry and some times when anything is on my chest, the pressure from the object feels like it is breaking my rib cage. I have an appointment with the Rheumatologist Oct 28th but I am worried they won't find anything either. I have had a bunch of gastro tests done, which found nothing and I have just had a CT Scan which, also, showed nothing. They have me on pain meds but I am still in so much pain. On top of all this I am so tired and some times I can't sleep at all. I have also been diagnosed with Graves disease but was told that is not why my chest is hurting. My Dr. did test me for Lupus and it was slightly high but she thinks it was due to the Graves disease. Jen, do you think it is possible for the test to be slightly high and STILL have Lupus? Was your test for Lupus very high? I am tired of being sick and hurting...

HELP!

Jennifer
Helpful - 0
435241 tn?1208575531
You just described me to a T. I was just released from the hospital for a possible PE. The scan showed something in my left lung but they ruled out a PE.  My D-dimer test was really high and my IgM was really high I just got the IgM back today. I have yet to talk to the Dr. about it. I still have the chest pain. It comes and goes sometimes stays for hours. Takes my breath away at times. Had every test known to man and they can't figure out what is causing the pain. I also have Systemic Lupus.  If you wanna talk some more send me a private message sometime.
Jen
Helpful - 0
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