Chest pain related to pulmonary disease usually results from involvement of the chest wall or parietal pleura. Nerve fibers are abundant in this area. Pleuritic pain is a common symptom of inflammation of the parietal pleura. It is described as a sharp, stabbing pain that is usually felt during inspiration. It may be localized to one side, and the patient may splint* to avoid the pain. Chapter 14, The Heart, summarizes the important questions to ask a patient complaining of chest pain.
Acute dilatation of the main pulmonary artery may also produce a sensation of dull pressure, often indistinguishable from angina pectoris. This results from nerve endings responding to the stretch on the main pulmonary artery.
Although chest pain occurs in pulmonary disease, chest pain is the cardinal symptom of cardiac disease and is discussed more completely in Chapter 14, The Heart.
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