Chest pain in children is common, but rarely heralds serious underlying cardiac pathology. Despite this, the anxiety of missing a potentially life threatening condition creates a large burden of referrals and diagnostic testing. We evaluated patients diagnosed with 1 of 9 serious cardiac diseases and detailed the clinical signs and symptoms of the patients presenting with chest pain. Patients diagnosed between the ages of 7 and 21 years from January 2000 to December 2009 at Children's Hospital Boston (CHB) were identified from a database using diagnostic and billing codes for aortic dissection, coronary anomalies, dilated cardiomyopathy, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, myocarditis, pericarditis, pulmonary embolus, pulmonary hypertension, and Takayasu arteritis. Patients with previously diagnosed congenital or acquired heart disease were excluded. Four hundred eighty-four patients were included and 35% presented with chest pain. Forty-one (24%) of these patients with chest pain were diagnosed in the outpatient cardiology clinic, while the remaining 130 patients (76%) were diagnosed in the emergency department (ED) or inpatient setting. Coronary artery anomalies were the most common diagnosis made in cardiology clinic, and 16 of the...Continue Reading
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