Pain due to heartburn and indigestion often radiates between the shoulder blades, whereas oesophageal spasm (sometimes triggered by acid reflux) more commonly causes chest pain, and can be mistaken for cardiac chest pain.
Indigestion encompasses a vast array of symptoms in the upper digestive tract, including:
These symptoms are known collectively as dyspepsia, and this occurs in up to 10% of the adult population. At least half of these seek medical help, and dyspepsia accounts for 40% of referrals to a gastroenterologist.
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Dyspepsia can be classified as:
Heartburn is the key to identifying reflux-like dyspepsia. It is decribed as a burning sensation felt behind the sternum or breastbone. It is a diffuse pain and is usually made worse by lying down or leaning forward.
‘Waterbrash’ is excessive saliva production as a response to the presence of acid in the lower oesophagus.
Pain due to heartburn often radiates between the shoulder blades, whereas oesophageal spasm (sometimes triggered by acid reflux) more commonly causes chest pain, and can be mistaken for cardiac chest pain. Oesophageal spasm pain is typically
It can be differentiated from cardiac chest pain by