Young adults and children are most commonly affected by precordial catch syndrome (PCS), which is sudden chest pain caused by benign factors.(1)
The characteristics are consistent, and it commonly results in expensive and unnecessary testing and procedures via specialists and referrals.
First off, this article does not constitute medical advice, and all questions and inquiries should be directed to your health professional.
This article is for informational purposes only, and you should commit to due diligence and follow-up with your healthcare professional if you suspect you have a health condition.
Precordial catch syndrome is also called Texidor’s Twinge. It can affect children who suffer from;
• or respiratory diseases.(1)
At its strongest, Texidor’s Twinge can cause visual turbidity or loss of vision. There is no cure, but it is not dangerous and with the passage of time, it goes away.(1)
The Characteristics of Precordial Catch Syndrome
It can start as early as 6 years old, but generally, people do not experience precordial catch syndrome until their late teens or early 20s.
It oftentimes happens at rest, in a partly slouched position, on a couch watching television.
It can happen during light activities; like walking.
The syndrome has no correlation to the food you eat and will not happen during sleep like gastrointestinal reflux.
Here are some characteristics of Precordial catch syndrome:(2)
• No warning
• Stabbing or sharp pain
• Lasts anywhere from 2 seconds to 3 minutes
• Deep breathing makes the symptoms worse
• Can happen suddenly
• Does not exhibit physical changes or other symptoms
• Happens during rest
More About the Symptoms of Precordial Catch Syndrome
It is a very localized pain, about 1-2 fingertips. It is on the front left side of the chest.(Precordial literally means “in front of the heart.”)
It does not shoot to other areas of the body, and it never feels like it radiates.
The pain usually starts without provocation, and moving around while the pain is occurring may agitate the symptoms.
To mediate the symptom of pain in the chest, try to breathe shallowly until it disappears. Taking deep breaths have been known to cause the pain to worsen.(3)
It is very rare for PCS to last more than 20 minutes.
Except sharp pain, there are no other symptoms, such as; flushing red face, paleness, or wheezing.
Light-headiness may occur from the shallow breathing, and there are generally no fluctuations in pulse rhythm or rate.
The Causes of Precordial Catch Syndrome
PCS is not an imagined condition. The pain is very real.(4)
It does not stem from lung or heart disease. Some people with congenital abnormalities of the heart have reported experiencing precordial catch syndrome.
The pain is said to come from pinching or irritation of the pleura, the inner lining of the chest cavity, and it does not come from the heart itself.(4)
The pain can originate within the chest wall, cartilage, or ribs. Lastly, it does not come from the lungs or the pericardium.(4)
What Health Practitioners Commonly Do
Your practitioner would examine your history of symptoms and any other problems that you may have.(4)
A doctor may look for viral infections, inflamed esophagus/stomach, or congenital heart valve irregularities.
He may look for activity associated with;
• or reactions to certain foods
He may look for tenderness of the chest, and listen to your heart and lungs with a stethoscope.
If he hears things like a heart murmur or some other abnormal sound, he may order some tests.
If he has determined that there may be more to the condition, he may order a chest X-ray, or echocardiogram, or an electrocardiogram to rule out heart disease.
In order to rule out the diseases of the rib, a radionuclide bone scan is performed on people with a history of rib injuries.
An MRI may be used to rule out joint instability between the rib and sternum. If none of the tests above yield any conclusions, the doctor may perform a blood investigation into factors such as blood count and erythrocyte sedimentation rate.
What Can Be Done About The Condition
The best thing that a person can do when affected by the symptoms of Precordial catch syndrome is to relax.(4)
In 1981 Douglas Pickering, Department of Paediatrics, John Radcliffe Hospital, suggested outside activities – such as the cubs, scouts, or even ballet classes just to divert attention from the pain, and not sitting at home watching television.(5)
The syndrome is generally completely harmless, but not painless, and requires no specific treatment.
By the time people in their mid-20s outgrow the syndrome and associated symptoms. The frequency and intensity of the pain generally decline with age.
The syndrome is not the same for everyone. Some people can mitigate the symptoms by taking deep and long breaths, while other people use shallow breaths.
Some people have reported that taking deep long breaths can make the pain go away, but at a trade-off for another bout of a brief, stabbing pain.
The Treatment Plan For PCS
There is no treatment plan and no cure for PCS. Namely, the syndrome is neither life-threatening or dangerous, and it’s not considered by health professionals as a major medical concern.(6)
The worst part about the syndrome is that it can often be mistaken for a heart attack and some people affected by precordial catch syndrome often go on bouts of fear that it may be a heart attack or something worse.
Generally, a heart attack radiates while precordial catch syndrome is very localized. When the pain occurs, it will interfere and inhibit most physical activities.
If the symptoms are intense, lifting the elbows while in an upright position to decrease pressure on the affected region may help.
There are no known medications prescribed for the syndrome. A doctor may recommend keeping the body hydrated and taking some ibuprofen to help with the symptoms.
Moving during a bout of precordial catch syndrome may only intensify the pain.
Myocardial Infarction, Pulmonary Embolism, or Heart Attack
When the heart muscle dies, it is called myocardial infarction. A heart muscle can die when there is no blood supply or poor blood supply to the muscle.
As a result, a sharp pain over the left-front side of the chest can develop and will not relieve.
Generally, there is a group of symptoms that accommodate myocardial infarction such as;(7)
• choking sensation
• or nausea
When there is a blood clot, and it moves free-ranged in the blood stream and then blocks a blood vessel, it is called pulmonary embolism.
When a person has a pulmonary embolism symptoms like;(8)
• chest pain,
• coughing of blood,
• or chest pain that increases upon breathing, may occur.
Here is a list of precordial catch syndrome symptoms:
• Localized pain, does not radiate
• The pain site is about 1-2 fingertips
• Pain commonly goes away after 3 minutes
• Not correlated with other symptoms
• Exhibit normal ECG readings
Here is a list of heart attack and pulmonary embolism symptoms:
• Pain commonly radiates to the left arm, jaw, and shoulder
• The pain site is about the size of your heart or a clenched fist
• The pain is persistent
• Accompanied by excessive giddiness, vomiting, nausea, and sweating
• Exhibit changes in ECG
There is no official cause for Precordial catch syndrome.
A symptom that can appear to be the PCS is costochondritis.
It is one of the manifest symptoms that occur with a benign inflammation of the coastal cartilage.
It is the length of cartilage that connects the ribs to the breastbone, except for the 11th and 12th ribs.
Costochondritis causes pain in the chest and feels like pushing on the area between the ribs.
A simple 30-minute workout can remove the pain of costochondritis.(9)
The biggest problem with the syndrome that it can cause feelings of concern and worry for people who may mistake it for another serious health issue.
As a result, it can rack up medical bills through all the tests completed to rule out any other serious health issues.
People with Texidor’s Twinge are least likely to go through interference in everyday routines. It will never happen during sleep, and it occurs most often during a sudden change in posture.
It is said that it can be correlated to stress, anxiety, or compression of a nerve group or muscle.
Knowing this information should not replace the need to have a physical examination done should you ever experience any painful symptoms.
Researches and references