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Is My Chest Pain a Heart Problem or Heartburn?

Is My Chest Pain a Heart Problem or Heartburn?

The pain you feel in your chest with severe heartburn can be similar to the pain you experience with an underlying heart problem.

At Chinatown Cardiology, with five New York City locations, our experienced heart specialists offer in-office testing to determine what’s causing your chest pain. 

The team recommends that people who experience chest pain carefully monitor their symptoms and seek medical attention when their pain becomes concerning.

Causes of chest pain

There are several reasons why you might experience chest pain. Pain can feel like a burning or stabbing sensation. You may also feel a persistent, uncomfortable pressure or ache in your chest. Common causes of chest pain include:


Heartburn causes a painful, burning sensation in your chest when stomach acids flow back up into your esophagus.

Heart attack

A heart attack occurs when blood flow is blocked to the heart muscle. Most often, the blockage is caused by a blood clot.

You may also experience chest pain because of vascular conditions, like a blood clot or collapsed lung.

Is it heartburn or something more serious?

Chest discomfort and pain caused by heartburn and a heart attack can feel similar. Sometimes, our physicians can’t make a diagnosis based only on your symptoms and medical history. For this reason, we offer diagnostic cardiac testing services to identify the source of your pain.

When you have heartburn, look for other symptoms that don’t occur with a heart attack or other cardiac condition. These can include regurgitation of liquids in your throat and a sour taste in your mouth. You might also find relief of heartburn symptoms with acid-reducing medicine.

Heart attack pain can feel much like heartburn and also involve other symptoms that are different from symptoms of heartburn. In addition to your chest pain, you may experience:

If you have any of these issues or concerns about ongoing chest pain, you should schedule diagnostic testing at Chinatown Cardiology. If you have a sudden onset of pain or you can’t catch your breath, seek emergency medical attention at the nearest hospital or call 911.

Testing options for chest pain

Our cardiologists can run several tests to diagnose or rule out a heart attack or other cardiac condition, including:

Electrocardiogram (EKG)

An EKG is a noninvasive test that measures the electrical activity in your heart. We place electrodes over the surface of your skin that connect to a machine. The machine displays your test results and our team reviews them to check for warning signs of a heart attack.


An echocardiogram is a noninvasive test that uses sound waves to create images of your heart. The images show us your heart muscles and heart valves. Our team can use these images to identify damage to the heart muscle that can occur with a heart attack or other heart conditions, such as congenital heart disorders. The heart specialists at Chinatown Cardiology will review the findings and can identify PFOs, ASDs, and other disorders.

Stress test

A stress test measures how your heart and blood vessels function during exercise. Chinatown Cardiology offers various types of stress tests:

The stress portion can be accomplished by walking on a treadmill. If you are unable to do so, a special medication can be injected into your system to help speed up your blood flow, as though you were exercising.

Based on the results of your testing, we can discuss your options for any additional testing or treatments that you need.

Chinatown Cardiology has convenient locations in Manhattan, Queens, and Brooklyn. To learn more about the available testing and treatment services for chest pain, call the office nearest you or book an appointment online today. 

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