Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Precordial Catch Syndrome

Tonight while struggling to fall asleep (yet again), I was laying down reading when suddenly I felt this intense, sharp pain in my left lung when I breathed in too deeply or moved at all. I started to panic, as I thought I'd have to wake up Eliot and head to the ER. I thought maybe a heart attack or something awful... I grabbed my laptop, and a few minutes later I felt this "pop" in my chest and the pain was completely gone. Still curious if this was serious, I looked around and discovered this which sounds exactly like what happened:

Precordial Catch Syndrome
(PCS), also known as Texidor's twinge, is a common cause of chest pain complaints in children and adolescents. It also occurs, though less frequently, in adults. PCS manifests itself as a very intense, sharp pain typically at the left side of the chest which is worse when taking breaths. Patients often think that they are having a heart attack which causes them to panic. This typically lasts 30 seconds to 3 minutes, though some episodes last only a few breaths and in rare cases can last up to 30 minutes. In all cases the pain is resolved quickly and completely.

CS has consistent characteristics. Its symptoms begin with a sudden onset of anterior chest pain on the left side of the chest. The pain is localized and does not radiate like heart attack pain typically does. Breathing in, and sometimes breathing out, often intensifies the pain. Typically this causes the patient to freeze in place and breathe shallowly until the episode passes. Episodes typically last a couple of seconds to three minutes. The frequency of episodes varies by patient, sometimes occurring daily, multiple episodes each day, or years between episodes. This is believed to be localized cramping of certain muscles groups.

Although deep inhalation during a PCS attack will likely cause an increase in pain, many have found that forcing themselves to breathe as deeply as possible will result in a "popping" or "ripping" sensation which quickly and completely resolves the PCS episode.

PCS episodes happen most often while sitting or lying down, and being inactive.

So there you have it. I will mention this to my doctor when I see her on the 6th, but it doesn't sound too serious (I feel fine now). Everything I experienced was exactly like what is described above. I had never even heard of this before. Crazy!

I am going to go get my seasonal flu shot tomorrow, but the H1N1 is completely unavailable in the area. So I guess I will have to be super careful about not getting sick and avoid crowds as much as possible. :-( In any case, I am glad I can breathe deep again and will hopefully get to sleep soon!

1 comment:

  1. I get PCS too. Nothing to worry about as far as I know, aside from that occasional stabbing pain hah.