Heart Health

Precordial Catch Syndrome: Is It A Serious Condition?

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Have you ever experienced pain in your heart that goes away within seconds or pain like someone has stabbed your heart with a knife?

You may not have taken it seriously because it usually goes away in 3 seconds to 3 minutes and does not create any particular changes to your body.

Precordial Catch Syndrome: Is It A Serious Condition?

This specific condition is known as Precordial Catch Syndrome (PCS) and this happens when the nerves in front of the chest are squeezed.

Sounds dreadful? But there is nothing to be worried about because it is kind of harmless and not a medical emergency. 

Precordial Catch Syndrome: Is it a Serious Condition?

Most people experience this kind of discomfort or bad pain in the chest which they may think is a serious issue. But in reality, it is this Precordial Catch Syndrome. In almost 70% of the cases, people do not know that it is because of the PCS. They will run to the doctor as soon as they start feeling the pain again.

What is Precordial Catch Syndrome?

The term ‘Precordial’ means in front of the heart, that is where normally a person feels the pain. It is also known as ‘Texidor’s twitch’.

Precordial catch syndrome does not require any particular age to show up but it is usually seen in children, teens, and young adults.

This medical condition was first described by Miller Texidor in 1955, after being discovered by the same symptoms other 10 more people had. 

Later in 1978, other 45 healthy individuals are reported with the same symptoms. They were given anti-inflammatory medicine to reduce pain.

People who had experienced the precordial catch syndrome started being immune to the syndrome by the age of 20years.

Doctors have given different explanations for the causes, symptoms, and treatment of Precordial catch Syndrome. Let us go through all that, one by one.

Characteristics of Precordial Catch Syndrome

Precordial Catch Syndrome is characterized by some of the conditions which are common in people;

  1. Sudden stabbing-like pain on the left side of the chest. 
  2. Pain under left breast.
  3. Pain while breathing.
  4. Anxiety 
  5. Short duration.

Causes of Precordial Catch Syndrome 

When it comes to the causes of Precordial Catch Syndrome, there is no clear or exact explanation for the causes of PCS.

It is not a result of some serious problems with your heart or lungs.  Doctors explain that PCS a result of squeezed or aggravated veins in the lining of the lungs (pleura).

In some people, PCS happens when they are stressed or in tension. Sometimes even growth spurt, an injury, poor posture can cause an irritated vein resulting in Precordial Catch Syndrome.

Precordial catch Syndrome can often become worse due to deep breathing but it will not spread to any other parts of the chest as a heart attack do.

The intensity of pain varies according to individuals. For some people, they will have an annoying dull pain but for others, it will be severe enough to cause momentary vision loss or blur vision. However, the pain that usually covers a no bigger area than a fingertip completely goes away suddenly. 

Though terms like irritated vein, pleura, and the name Precordial Catch Syndrome are difficult to digest for an average person, they are mere medical terms that have nothing bad to do with your body. 

Symptoms of precordial catch syndrome

The discomfort in the chest or a stabbing-like pain one may experience while the body is at rest is one of the most common symptoms of the Precordial Catch Syndrome. This sharp pain on the left side of your chest near the heart is the only known symptom of Precordial Catch Syndrome. 

Though the symptom is not worse, it can hurt while taking a deep breath. People affected with PCS will tend to take shallow breaths which may result in light-headedness.

Sometimes, the discomfort in your chest may create anxiety attacks, thinking of it as a cardiac arrest, which can make things worse by further clinical tests or referrals to cardiac specialists.

Apart from this, no other symptoms are there for precordial catch syndrome. 

How is it diagnosed?

If you keep experiencing chest pain and you want to rule out the chance of any heart or lung diseases, you can consult a doctor. The doctor may enquire about your symptoms and ask for your medical history including;

  • When is the onset of symptoms?
  • What was the duration of pain?
  • How was it felt?
  • What are the symptoms felt?
  • How often this symptom occur?

Initially, the doctor will do a physical check-up like monitoring the heartbeats, checking the pulse, blood pressure, and if they don’t find any danger or major risks, they may not ask you to take any other tests.

If your doctor finds any other health concerns, you will be asked to undergo additional tests like n X-ray or an ultrasound. In most cases, your doctor will easily diagnose Precordial Catch Syndrome.

Treatment for Precordial Catch Syndrome

Some people have the habit of consulting a health care provider or a doctor for every minute of cuts and scratches.

This kind of people will get more anxious when they get severe chest pain often. There is another set of people who have a mini hospital-like medicine collection at home.

Mostly they find relief from pain killers, once they get such pain. This might cause very serious health issues in the future. 

For Precordial Catch Syndrome, there is no particular pattern of treatment or medicines, as it is not believed to be life-threatening and non-interfering the daily activities.

But reassurance and specific instruction to the patient is the commonly given treatment. The symptoms will go away quickly in seconds except in rare cases when the symptoms last for half an hour.

Sometimes the doctor might prescribe pain relievers like ibuprofen (Motrin). Some of the easiest methods which offer relief to the pain caused by Precordial Catch Syndrome includes;

  • Taking deep breaths during the time of pain, which might be a little more painful but offers a cure to the pain.
  • Stretching upright your body to make movements.
  • Changing the posture of your body.
  • Lying down on the bed.
  • Massaging the chest.
  • Taking alternate deep and shallow respiration. 
  •  Build the habit of sitting and standing with the shoulder back.
  • Doing outside activities like cubs, scouts, and ballet classes.

What is Reassurance?

Reassurance is the kind of treatment in which the patients are given explanations about their physical condition to stop them from being worried about their health. People get panic when they have to encounter certain situations including health conditions, even if it is not serious. In the case of Precordial Catch Syndrome, doctors give reassurance to the patients so that they may not get worried because of PCS. The reassurance includes:

  • Doctors may explain to the patient that Precordial Catch Syndrome is common in young adults and children and it is not the result of any cardiac problems.
  • Having a detailed discussion with the patient about the symptoms of Precordial  Catch Syndrome which clearly distinguishes from the symptoms of a heart attack.
  • Naming each symptom of Precordial Catch Syndrome may give familiarity with the diagnosis. 
  • Reassurance may give relief to the patient that the chest pain is harmless. 

When to consult a doctor? 

Precordial Catch Syndrome does not create any other health issues in your body or it will not affect your immune system but don’t confuse any other serious symptoms as Precordial catch syndrome. You may consult a doctor in the following cases;

  • If the symptoms last more than an hour.
  • If severe chest pain is accompanied by any other symptoms.
  • If you have a medical history related to the heart or lungs. 
  • If the symptom happens frequently or more than 5 times a day. 

In these cases, you might not be having a Precordial Catch Syndrom, it can be symptoms of serious heart or lung issues like a heart attack. 

Is it a serious condition?

As explained above, just because you feel chest pain for seconds, it does not mean that you are having a serious health issue related to your heart or lungs. Unnecessary treatments and anxiety will bring serious concerns later.

Precordial Catch Syndrome is less harmful than a normal fever or a cold you may experience very often. There is no need to consult a doctor but to avoid any other consequences, get medical assistance. 

While consulting your doctor always keep in mind to mention your symptoms, otherwise they may ask you to take other medical tests, which is needless and may cost you extra expenses particularly if you consult in a private hospital or clinic. 

Is it serious in children?

Precordial Catch Syndrome normally affects children between the age of 6 years to 16 years. Most of the patients affected by Precordial Catch Syndrome children and young adults.

When it comes to young children, it is usually normal for the parents to get worried. When your child says that he/she is having chest pain, that will make the parents alert. But when such cases come up, it is always better to call a doctor over the phone and explain the symptoms that your child is experiencing.

The doctor will provide you necessary instructions to follow. Following are the things you can do when your child experiences Precordial Catch Syndrome;

  • Make the child take deep breaths carefully.
  • Ask your child to stretch up. 
  • Give water.

If the symptoms persist even after following the instructions, seek medical help immediately, as it may be some serious issues that need medical assistance. 

Precordial Check Syndrome normally does not affect children below the age of 6 years. You may know about Precordial Catch Syndrome or you might be a PCS patient, but never think that it will pass on to your child as well. It is not a genetic disorder or hereditary.

Moreover, if children below the age of 6 years show such symptoms of Precordial Catch Syndrome, do not hesitate to get an appointment with a health professional as soon as possible. We cannot take risks with our children, right!

Does it happen to adults often?

Precordial Catch Syndrome usually does not occur in adults who passed the age of 20. Individuals become immune to PCS once they cross their 20s.

But in rare cases, PCS can occur in individuals between the age of 20 years – 30years, depending on their body. 

Similarly, if you are pregnant or prone to any other allergies or if you have any heart or lung problems, do not take every chest pain as a symptom of Precordial Catch Syndrome. You might need the attention of a doctor in such cases.

Precordial Catch Syndrome is not something that happens to pregnant women, though such pains are usual in times of pregnancy, you should be aware of any possible threats that could come up in the way.  

Conclusion

The human body is designed in a way to protect itself from possible threats that couple comes up anytime.

Every time the body gets a new situation or faces a foreign substance that is different from the normal routine or usual substances,  the body shows a particular resistance to that situation or substance. This is what we call immunity.

For Precordial Catch Syndrome, our body has formed a natural resistance as it is familiar with the situation, just as the way we react to any similar situations in our house.

Our body is well aware of the condition itself and it will work accordingly.

Precordial Catch Syndrome is a situation our body is aware of before us, so it will provide the necessary treatment before we do and that is the reason why it goes away in minutes. 

In this article, we have discussed everything you need to know to deal with Precordial Catch Syndrome. The definition, the causes or reasons behind PCS, the symptoms, characteristics, diagnosis, treatment of PCS have been discussed in detail.

Now you know who should be careful, who is at risk, and the immediate home cure before you consult a doctor. Also, do not ever try to take medicines or pain killers for PCS, always ask your doctor before taking any medicine.

Dr. Patrick Ryan is an experienced and dedicated pediatrician. He became a part of Medical counsel to provide the best medical and health care services for your child. Patrick Ryan started his career as a pediatrician back in 1995. He is an avid writer and provides a caring and compassionate service that is focused on your child’s individual health care through his articles in this blog.

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