Home > Chest Pain

Chest Pain in New Jersey

Chest pain is one of the most common reasons for seeking medical attention. The Digestive Health & Nutrition Center has two convenient locations in Lawrenceville and Princeton, New Jersey where you can receive the exceptional care you deserve. Angela Merlo, MD is an experienced Gastroenterologist and expert at the diagnosis and treatment of chest pain of non-cardiac origin in adults and children.

What is Non-Cardiac Chest Pain?

Chest pain of non-cardiac origin is any symptom that people usually attribute to their heart (such as angina or pain from heart attack) but is not caused by heart disease. Non-cardiac chest pain can occur anywhere in the chest but typically occurs behind the sternum. Like pain from the heart, non-cardiac chest pain may radiate into the neck, jaw bone or down the left arm and may be associated with shortness of breath.  The pain may be described as sharp, burning, squeezing or a pressure sensation. Affected individuals are often seen urgently by a Cardiologist to be certain of no serious heart condition. However, an accurate diagnosis is crucial to avoid repeated cardiac evaluations and to assure the patient the nature of their illness.  Here are some digestive disorders that cause non-cardiac chest pain:

  • Acid reflux and GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease)
  • Arthritis and inflammation of cartilage of the ribs and sternum
  • Celiac Disease or gluten allergy
  • Esophageal spasm
  • Food allergies
  • Hiatal hernia

How is Non-Cardiac Chest Pain Diagnosed?

Dr. Merlo will first discuss all of your symptoms and review your medical history. These clues will guide her investigation. Dr. Merlo may recommend special blood tests or one or more diagnostic tests or procedures such as breath tests, endoscopy, or esophageal manometry. Most patients seen by Dr. Merlo with non-cardiac chest pain have their symptoms relieved by specific dietary and lifestyle changes without the need for long-term prescription medication.

If you or your children are experiencing chest pain and seek an expert adult or pediatric Gastroenterologist for diagnosis and treatment, contact the Digestive Health & Nutrition Center in Lawrenceville or Princeton, New Jersey for an appointment with Dr. Merlo.