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Acid reflux chest pain

Printed From: Barrett's Support Forum
Category: Barrett's Support Forum
Forum Name: Barrett's Oesophagus
Forum Discription: Your Questions about Barrett's Oesophagus
Printed Date: 31†Oct†2020 at 10:30am

Topic: Acid reflux chest pain
Posted By: Jackie9
Subject: Acid reflux chest pain
Date Posted: 29†Nov†2019 at 7:12pm
Hi There. Iím a diagnosed Barrettís patient. When I was first diagnosed I found it very difficult to comprehend that something inside me might develop into cancer. But with time and some rational thinking that with the surveillance programme and taking the medication I would be fine. Unfortunately over the last year itís not been my Barrettís that causing me problems but the severe chest pain Iím having. Obviously Iíve excluded my heart and lungs. Doctors donít know what is causing this. So please HELP me. Iíve not had this constantly over the 12 months but every now and then and itís getting more regular I have a sudden chest spasm which shocks me into feeling very nauseas, hot and bothered. After this I am then left with dull sickly chest pain that might radiate to my right shoulder/back. This discomfort can last days. The location of pain is on my sternum slightly to the right. I canít explain how debilitating the pain is and it is then that I start to add more lansoprazole ,ranitidine gaviscon etc None of these help.
Iím beginning to panic now thinking the worse that Iíve got a tumour and itís pressing against my chest wall. I am very worried and am struggling to stay positive. I have no difficulty swallowing and can eat and drink normally. Any advice would be welcome thanks jackie

Posted By: chrisrob
Date Posted: 30†Nov†2019 at 10:43am
Hi Jackie,

As you have observed, it is unlikely your Barrett's will mutate to cancer. If you're in UK (with highest incidence worldwide), the risk of that happening is about 1 in 400 per year but those of us who know we have Barrett's are the lucky ones as we'll have regular medication that reduces that risk and regular surveillance every few years to look for early pre-cancerous changes (dysplasia) whence, if they were ever seen, could be removed by ablation.

Chest pains as you describe are not uncommon for refluxers. It's not from the Barrett's but could be from the reflux itself.
Running beside the esophagus as it passes through the hiatus hole in the diaphragm to the stomach, is the vagus nerve. A refluxing oesophagus can spasm and, impinging on that nerve, transmit signals that can appear to come from anywhere in the upper body: heart and shoulder blade are the most frequently reported areas.

Unfortunately, however good they are at reducing acid, the acid suppressant medications only do that. They do not reduce reflux; they just make it less damaging.

I have had so many heart tests over the years, I know mine's OK. But my father died of a heart attack when I was just a young teen so they take any chest pains seriously. I've had countless ECGs - including on treadmills, echograms etc and even wore an implanted heart monitor for a few years.

It is important heart problems are ruled out, as you have done. You can discuss with your GP the suggestion it could be from vagus nerve and see if there's any medication that could calm that response.

It is unlikely to be oesophageal cancer. The symptoms of that are different. Any developing tumour would cause swallowing problems instead.

Keep a diary of when these pains are most likely to occur and see if they follow eating in a particular way (eg larger portion than normal, rushed or slouching on the sofa).

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Posted By: Jackie9
Date Posted: 01†Dec†2019 at 2:23pm
Hi Chris. Thank you so much for your reply. I take on board all of the things youíve said. But I am so fed up with feeling unwell. The discomfort is so hard to ignore and as I said I then start taking random medications. Of course thereís always the possibility that itís nothing to do with my Oesophagus. I am so afraid that something is being missed I donít know where Iím going to go with this. I have just had a barium swallow and am awaiting the results in some ways I want it to show something then I might have an explanation of why I feel the way I do. At 59 I want to enjoy life at the moment Iím wasting it. Iíll let you know of any results and if you have any good advice for reducing pain that wouldíve great Regards jackie

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