Cardiovascular Services

Chest Pain | Angina

What is chest pain?

Chest pain is common and can result from issues relating to the heart, digestion, the lungs, muscles or bones. Chest pain does not necessarily mean you are having a heart attack. Learn the heart attack signs.

When chest pain symptoms are similar to heart attack signs, it is an emergency that requires immediate care. Call 911, if the pain feels crushing or tightening like a weight on your chest. People suffering a heart attack may also become dizzy, feel nauseous or have a racing heart.

What is angina?

Angina is a common cause of chest pain. Symptoms include a sense of squeezing, pressure, heaviness and tightness in the chest. The pain can come on suddenly, often during physical activity, and can come and go over time. Angina is a sign of coronary artery disease, which restricts blood flow to the heart. Be sure to get screened for heart issues if you experience frequent chest pain.

How do you diagnose chest pain?

The only way to determine the cause of chest pain is to be physically examined by a medical provider. Your doctor may order tests such as:

Frequent or unexplained chest pain should be evaluated by a doctor as soon as possible. 

How do you treat angina?

Angina can be treated by making lifestyle changes, taking medication and/or undergoing an angioplasty or surgery. Ask your doctor about dietary changes that can help to prevent chest pain and angina. Talk about what kinds of exercises and physical activity can improve your health.

In case of emergency, dial 9-1-1

Heart attack symptoms may be different in women than men.

Women may experience tightness in the chest, but not recognize it as a heart attack symptom. Heart attack symptoms in women include:

• Pain in the neck, jaw, shoulder or back
• Stomach discomfort
• Arm pain (in one or both arms)
• Nausea or vomiting
• Sweating
• Feeling dizzy
• Feeling overly tired

If you are having heart attack symptoms, call 911 and get medical help right away.

MaineHealth Cardiovascular Programs:

Next Steps for Patients

While some patients are candidates for self-referral to our cardiovascular specialists, we recommend that you ask your primary care physician for help with the process.

Provider Referrals

If you are a provider who would like to refer a patient for MaineHealth cardiovascular imaging and diagnostic services, please review our clinical guidelines and call 207-885-9905.