Chest pain in a young woman

Mayo Clin Proc. 1988 Apr;63(4):368-72. doi: 10.1016/s0025-6196(12)64859-9.


Chest pain in a young person is often caused by chest wall tenderness, associated with mitral valve prolapse, or attributed to psychologic factors. Ischemic cardiac pain may be overlooked because of its rare occurrence in this age group. A 35-year-old woman complained of substernal chest pressure precipitated by exertion and relieved by rest. The symptom had been noted for 15 years. Worsening of the symptom during dancing prompted her to seek medical advice. She had no other illnesses, was taking no medications, was a nonsmoker, and had no family history of coronary disease. Physical examination disclosed a grade 1 (on the basis of 1 to 6) systolic ejection murmur, an ejection click, and a grade 2 diastolic murmur. An exercise test produced symptoms at 4 minutes. Coronary arteriography showed the absence of a left coronary ostium and filling of the entire coronary system from the right ostial injection through collateral vessels from the right coronary artery. Surgical repair was recommended. Operative intervention showed a dysplastic bicuspid aortic valve with a membrane that covered the left coronary ostium. Excision of the membrane reestablished antegrade blood flow to the left coronary system. A follow-up exercise test revealed normal findings. Because chest pain in a young person is rarely ischemic in origin, benign or noncardiac causes are usually considered; however, if the history suggests ischemic pain, the possible presence of unusual cardiovascular abnormalities should not be disregarded.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aortic Valve / abnormalities*
  • Aortic Valve / surgery
  • Cardiac Catheterization
  • Chest Pain / etiology*
  • Coronary Vessel Anomalies / complications*
  • Coronary Vessel Anomalies / diagnostic imaging
  • Coronary Vessel Anomalies / surgery
  • Electrocardiography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Radiography