CHEST PAIN
chelating agents
Chemicals to
treat
metal poisoning,
w hich act by combining with metals
such as lead, arsenic, and mercury to
form less toxic substances.
Penicillamine
is a commonly used chelating agent.
chemical formula
See
formula, chemical
.
chemical pathology
See
pathology, chemical
.
chemist
A pharmacist - a health-care profes-
sional who prepares drugs, makes up
and supplies prescriptions, and may
also give advice on the treatment of
common or m inor illnesses.
chemosis
Swelling of the
conjunctiva
(the mem-
brane covering the eye and lining the
eyelid). Chemosis is most commonly
associated with allergic and infective
conjunctivitis
. T r e a t m
e n t
may include the
use of eyedrops containing an
antihista-
mine drug
or
antibiotic drug
.
chemotherapy
The term usually used to refer to treat-
ment with
anticancer drugs
.
The word
“ chemotherapy” may also describe the
use of
antibiotic drugs
to treat infectious
diseases, particularly tuberculosis.
Chemotherapy for cancer works by
destroying cancer cells or preventing
them from multiplying. The drugs also
affect healthy tissues, however, so the
treatment is often given in short cours-
es, with drug-free periods in between
to allow normal cells to recover. N or-
mal tissues often affected include bone
marrow (causing anaemia), the mouth,
the intestinal lining, the hair follicles,
and the ovaries and testes; sometimes
causing severe side effects.
chenodeoxycholic acid
A constituent of
bile
that is necessary
for the absorption of fat from the diet
and also for the excretion of
cholesterol
.
cherry angioma
An alternative name for a
Campbell de
Morgan’s spot
(a small, bright red, non-
cancerous spot on the trunk or limbs).
cherry-red spot
A red spot that can be seen on the
retina
of infants who have the inherited meta-
bolic disorder
Tay-Sachs disease
.
cherubism
An inherited disease, also known as
familial fibrous dysplasia of the jaw.
Cherubism is so called because it pro-
duces swelling at either side of the jaw,
giving the face a cherubic appearance.
chest
The upper part of the trunk. The chest,
also known as the
thorax
,
extends from
the base
of the neck down to the
diaphragm muscle
.
chest compression
Another name for
external cardiac mas-
sage
.
Chest compressions are carried
out as part of the life-saving technique
cardiopulmonary resuscitation
.
chest pain
Pain in the chest often has no serious
cause, but in some cases it may be a
symptom
of an underlying disorder
requiring urgent treatment. The pain
may be in the chest wall (in the skin,
the underlying muscles, or the ribs) or
in an organ w ithin the chest.
causes
Common causes of pain in the chest
w all are a strained muscle or an injury,
such as a broken rib. A sharp pain that
travels
from
the
back
of the
chest
around to the front may be due to pres-
sure on a nerve root where it leaves the
spine; nerve compression may result
from disorders such as
osteoarthritis
of
the
vertebrae
.
Pain in the side of the
chest may be
caused by
pleurodynia
(inflammation of the muscles between
the ribs and of the diaphragm muscle,
associated w ith a viral infection). The
viral infection
herpes zoster
(shingles)
may cause severe pain along the course
of a nerve in the chest wall. In
Tietze’s
syndrome
,
inflammation at the junc-
tions of the rib
cartilages
causes pain on
the front of the chest wall.
A common cause of pain w ithin the
chest is
acid reflux
(regurgitation of acid
from the stomach into the
oesophagus
);
this problem may cause heartburn, a
pain behind the sternum (breastbone).
More serious causes include disorders
involving the lungs, such as
pleurisy
(inflammation of the membranes sur-
rounding
the
lungs
and lining
the
inside of the chest wall). Pleurisy may
be due to
pneumonia
(inflammation of
the lungs due to infection) or, rarely,
pulmonary embolism
(a blood clot that
has lodged in an artery in the lung).
Cancerous
lung
tumours
(see
lung
DIAGNOSING CHEST PAIN
To make an accurate diagnosis of the
underlying cause, it is important for
the patient to describe the location,
quality (e.g. burning, pressing, or
sharp), severity, and duration of the
pain, any factors that relieve it or make
it worse, and any other symptoms, such
as breathing difficulty. In addition,
the doctor will perform a physical
examination, including listening to chest
sounds with a stethoscope and feeling
for areas of tenderness in the chest wall.
He or she may also arrange for other
diagnostic procedures to be carried out.
P e r ic a r d it i s
S h a r p p a i n in t h e
c e n t r e o f t h e c h e s t ,
r e l i e v e d b y s it t in g
o r l e a n i n g f o r w a r d
A c i d r e f l u x
B u r n in g p a i n
b e h i n d t h e
b r e a s t b o n e
P l e u r o d y n ia ,
s h i n g l e s a n d n e r v e
r o o t p r e s s u r e
S h a r p p a i n a r o u n d
t h e s i d e o f t h e
c h e s t w a l l
A n g in a
C a n s p r e a d f r o m
t h e c h e s t i n t o t h e
n e c k a n d j a w
Angina and
heartattack
Severe, crushing
pain in the centre
of the chest, often
spreading into the
left arm
C
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